Berlin: Around 43,000 people are part of Islamist circles in Germany and around 420 are considered potentially dangerous, the president of the German Federal Criminal Police Office (or BKA) has said.
In an interview with Die Welt newspaper after the attacks in Paris, Holger Munch recalled that Islamist terrorism attacks European values, with Germany also in its sight.
As he noted, the coordinated work of the security forces has prevented 11 attacks in the country, but Paris has shown that the risk of international terrorism is “high” and that Germany may also be affected.
The jihadists, he explained, are younger than they were a few years ago and radicalized much faster; sometimes they spend a few months or a few weeks until a person decides to travel to Syria.
Many have criminal records behind them and often, before travelling abroad to join the jihadists, come into contact with Salafist groups in Germany.
According to data from the BKA, more than 750 Islamists have left Germany bound for Iraq and Syria and there is information about 70 people who have returned after receiving military training or combat experience.
US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has sent a letter to the German government threatening to curtail access to American intelligence if Berlin decides to issue contracts to Chinese tech giant Huawei to build their 5G communications networks, the media reported.
“The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy has indeed received a letter; there is no comment on its content from their side. There will be a quick reply,” CNN quoted Matthias Wehler, spokesperson at the German embassy in Washington D.C., as saying on Monday.
Germany announced on March 7 that it wouldn’t ban any company from bidding on 5G contracts.
The State Department has not commented on Grenell’s letter, but Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesperson, outlined how Huawei’s 5G networks could pose a constantly evolving and shifting threat.
“Because 5G networks are largely software-defined, updates pushed to the network by the manufacturer can radically change how they operate,” Marquis told CNN.
“The 5G networks our allies buy won’t be the networks that they eventually operate, as the software could be changed on a moment-to-moment basis by the manufacturer.”
The letter follows similar warnings by President Donald Trump’s administration urging allies to ban or restrict Huawei products from their 5G networks due to its ability to compromise national security by selling equipment with “backdoors” that could allow for unauthorised surveillance.
China and Huawei have vigorously pushed back on the US charges and the telecom giant last week filed a suit against Washington over the 2019 National Defence Authorization Act, which bans American federal agencies from buying Huawei products.
The lawsuit is Huawei’s most aggressive move yet to fight back against US claims.
Germany’s March 7 announcement follows a similar decision by the UK. Both countries argue they can mitigate any risks and their decisions could make it harder for Washington to convince smaller countries to follow suit.