Following the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley by an ISIS member, and the ensuing threats from the masked jihadists who perpetrated the barbaric act, the world is on full alert, fearing a potential ISIS terror attack in North America or Europe.
On Sunday, Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency, had some worrying things to say to reporters about the potential threat to Europe at the hands of militant Islamists.
Maassen noted that hundreds of German, British, French and Dutch nationals, who are known to have joined the ranks of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, will return “home” soon enough, an may well have intentions to carry out mass attacks in Europe.
Maassen told Reuters: “We have to expect that these people will return and commit attacks here,” as at least 400 German nationals are currently thought to be fighting with ISIS.
In addition, over the last few months the German intel official said that his agency has evidence that five German citizens in the middle east carried out suicide attacks.
BfV estimates that roughly 43,000 Islamists reside in Germany, with members of the Salafist movement particularly gaining strength: “There is a link between the successes ISIS has had so far in Iraq and the activities here in Germany and the propaganda and canvassing activities aimed at young jihadists,” said Maassen.
Back in November a German Muslim convert with ISIS in Syria released a video pleading with his fellow German Muslim countrymen to join in the “holy war” against the west.
According to Maassen: “The Islamic State (ISIS) is, so to speak, the ‘in’ thing – much more attractive than the Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda spin-off in Syria. What attracts people is the intense brutality, the radicalism and rigor. That suggests to them that it is a more authentic organization even than Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda fades besides the Islamic State when it comes to brutality.”
By way of a response to the high-level security threat Germany faces at the moment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a vote on Sunday to send military aid to Kurdish forces battling ISIS in northern Iraq. The German opposition has called for a debate in parliament, which is slated for Monday.