Syrian Teen Arrested For Plotting Terror Attack Was Given Asylum Without Vetting, Background Check

BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 27: Young men from Afghanistan who were arriving to participate in a demonstration against deportations gather near the Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees on March 27, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. The protesters were demanding an end to the deportations of migrants and refugees from Afghanistan …
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A report claims the 19-year-old Syrian Islamist who was arrested for plotting a terror attack in Germany last week was given refugee status without a formal interview or background check.

According to media sources, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) granted terror suspect Yamen A. full asylum status for a three-year period without formally interviewing him. The teen came to Germany in 2015 but was only given a brief written questionnaire by the agency, Westfaelische Rundschau reports.

The questionnaire was taken by tens of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, and Eritreans until it was later abandoned by the German government over fears it could expose the country to security risks. Since then, the government has required BAMF to personally interview each asylum applicant and do a more thorough background check.

The period in which Yamen A. was granted asylum was considered to be a “transition” from the old questionnaire system to the new interview system; since BAMF had confirmed his identity they allowed him to simply send in the written form.

The extent to which other potential radical Islamists who may have come to Germany posing as asylum seekers and been granted refugee status without being formally interviewed is unknown.

Yamen A. was arrested last week in the town of Schwerin on suspicion of plotting a large-scale terror attack using a remotely-detonated explosive device. The Syrian Islamist described himself as a “soldier of the caliphate” and is believed to be a supporter of Islamic State.

German authorities have foiled multiple terror plots since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, many of which were planned by asylum seekers. The most deadly attack, which occurred last December at a Berlin Christmas Market, was also committed by failed asylum seeker Anis Amri from Tunisia who used a truck to kill 12 people and injured more than 50 others.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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