Germany: 40 Migrants Investigated for Terrorism Links

A member of the new BFEplus anti-terror unit of the German federal police holds a G36C automatic weapon after taking part in a capabilities demonstration at a police training facility on December 16, 2015 in Ahrensfelde, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty

German police admit that they are investigating migrants in at least 40 cases on suspicion of links to terrorism.

Since the very beginning of the migrant crisis many have warned that groups like Islamic State would use the mass, uncontrolled flow of migrants to smuggle fighters and terror sympathisers into Europe. Arrests of migrants have been growing in recent months and now the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has admitted that they have at least 40 cases currently under investigation.

According to the reports from the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung (NOZ), the BKA has found at least 369 terrorists among the migrants who have come since last year. Of the 369 only 40 have so far been deemed serious enough to investigate, Spiegel Online reports.

Most of the accusations toward the migrants relate to membership in terrorist organisations such as the al-Nusra Front, Islamic State or Al Qaeda. Some migrants are also under serious suspicion of planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Germany.

The BKA confirmed that the terror threat level in Germany is high and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future, stating that “more attacks by Islamist cells cannot be excluded,” though they said they have no current information on specific attack preparations.

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) interior expert Wolfgang Bosbach said that the risk of a serious terror attack should be taken “very, very seriously.” Bosbach said that the identity of many of the migrants coming into Europe is in question because up to 60 per cent of them have no passport or form of identification on their person when they apply for asylum.

The report has come under fire from critics on the left who say that the BKA is stereotyping migrants by claiming that there are terror sympathisers among them. Domestic Policy spokeswoman from Die Linke (the Left Party), Ulla Jelpke, said, “the possibility that individual Islamic State fighters are among the large amount of refugees, including trained assassins, must not lead to all refugees from Syria and Iraq coming under terrorism suspicion.”

German police have made several arrests this year of migrants who have come into the country posing as asylum seekers. In Cologne several men were taken into custody as it was revealed they were planning to carry out terror operations in the city. The two men arrested were part of a growing trend of Germans who have either gone to Syria to fight with Islamic State militants or who have attempted to journey and been caught.

Italian police have also seen a surge in arrests of migrants linked to terrorism. A pair of Afghan men were arrested this week in Italy when police found incriminating evidence on one of their mobile phones which revealed that they had undertaken reconnaissance in the planning of targets for potential terror attacks across Europe. Another migrant is said to be heavily involved with people smuggling and may have smuggled fighters into Europe for Islamic State.