World

Germany Ends Year With Fivefold Increase In Terror Investigations

Germany opened five times as many terror investigations this year compared to 2016, newspaper Tagesschau reported Saturday.

Authorities launched around 1,200 investigations involving suspected terrorism acts throughout the year. Some 1,000 of them had an Islamist background. The total number marks a fivefold increase from an estimated 250 investigations in 2016.

The court system is having a hard time keeping up with the surge. Regional authorities are now handling about a third of the cases. The judges’ association has requested more staff in response to the trend.

Not all cases involve plans to carry out attacks. Migrants from Syran, Iraq and Afghanistan have been tried over alleged membership in terror groups without being suspected of planning attacks on European soil.

Germany’s federal police (BKA) estimates 705 Islamist extremists are willing to carry out terror attacks, up from 600 during an estimate in February. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV) recently said around 24,400 Islamists are active in the country but most of them don’t pose an immediate terror threat.

BKA chief Holger Münch told daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau in July that the danger from the far-right and far-left is minor compared to threats posed by jihadis.

“In the left-wing scene, the [German] states have currently estimated a number that can be counted on the fingers of one hand,” Münch said. “In the right-wing scene, the number is in the low double digits.”

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