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Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Germany

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 18 August 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Germany, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e52482ac.html [accessed 27 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: German security officials indicated that the threat from violent extremism remained high and that terrorist groups continued to target Germany. In November, Interior Minister de Maizière warned about an increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Germany and ordered heightened security measures at airports, railway stations, and other public sites. As of late 2010, more than 1,000 individuals were monitored by security authorities, 129 of whom were considered dangerous. Authorities estimated that roughly 220 individuals, both German nationals and permanent residents, have undergone paramilitary training since the early 1990s at terrorist training camps, primarily located in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Approximately 110 of these individuals have returned to Germany and 10 of them were in custody at year's end. Germany investigated, arrested, and prosecuted numerous terrorism suspects and disrupted terrorist-related groups within its borders with connections to religious extremist, Kurdish nationalist, and Marxist-Leninist terrorist organizations. Authorities conducted approximately 390 active investigations against 405 terrorist suspects, the largest number conducted to date. Of these investigations, 129 were Afghanistan-related. Throughout the year, a number of terrorist organizations, including the German Taliban Mujahedin and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, released videos featuring German speakers.

2010 Terrorist Incidents: On November 2, a package bomb postmarked from Greece and addressed to Chancellor Merkel was detected at the Chancellery and destroyed. One of the two Greeks subsequently arrested in Athens allegedly belonged to the group "Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei."

Legislation and Law Enforcement: In reaction to the October 28 parcel bomb plot from Yemen, an interagency task force on air cargo security on December 8 recommended procedural changes. The federal police were given increased authority at airports and they implemented more frequent spot checks of cargo companies.

German courts began trials or reached verdicts in a number of notable counterterrorism cases, including:

  • On March 4, four violent extremists belonging to the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) cell arrested in Sauerland were found guilty of planning to attack U.S. diplomats, soldiers, and civilians. They received five to 12 year sentences.

  • On July 19, a court sentenced Turkish citizen Oemer Ozdemir to six years and German citizen Sermet Ilgen to two years and six months for supporting/belonging to al-Qa'ida (AQ).

  • On October 20, the Federal Prosecutor's office charged seven Germans and one Turkish citizen with supporting AQ, al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI), Ansar al-Islam, and the Global Islamic Media Front's German section.

In 2010, German law enforcement authorities arrested a number of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism. Prominent new actions and arrests included:

  • Eric Breininger, a German citizen, was reportedly killed in Waziristan in late April. Breininger, an IJU member, appeared in extremist videos and is suspected of having ties with the IJU Sauerland cell.

  • On July 4, authorities arrested Syrian national Hussam S. on suspicion of recruiting for AQ, AQI, al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb, and the IJU. Hussam S. was suspected of about 100 counts of posting criminal propaganda material online.

  • On July 12, Interior Minister de Maizière banned the Frankfurt-based Hamas-affiliated International Humanitarian Relief Organization.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Germany is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, and its Financial Intelligence Unit is a member of the Egmont Group. Of the 9,046 suspicious transaction reports filed in 2009 (2010 figures were not available at year's end), 98 were filed for suspected terrorist financing, and an additional 415 were examined for possible links to terrorist financing. Germany remained a strong advocate of the UNSCR 1267 al-Qa'ida/Taliban sanctions regime.

Regional and International Cooperation: Germany ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Germany continued to participate in multilateral counterterrorism initiatives, including the G8 Roma-Lyon and Counterterrorism Action Group.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: On July 19, the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution launched an opt-out program for violent extremists called HATIF, which is the Arabic term for telephone and also the abbreviation in German for "Heraus Aus Terrorismus und Islamistischem Fanatismus", or "leaving terrorism and Islamist fanaticism." The Interior Ministry also continued a project first launched in 2001 to stop radicalization among young right-wing offenders. The program was expanded in 2007 to include young militants and ran in eight states. The recidivism rate of participants was very low. In 2010, the Interior Ministry also continued a project in three states to counter radicalization of young delinquents influenced by violent extremist ideology.

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