Officials from the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) federal intelligence service told Germany’s members of Parliament in a secret briefing last week that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) may have the capabilities to strike down a passenger jet.
According to Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper, the BND intelligence agency, which is Germany’s equivalent of America’s CIA, told parliamentarians that ISIS fighters may be in possession of man-portable rocket launchers that were stolen from Syrian military stockpiles. They ranged from decades old to advanced MANPADS (man-portable air defense systems).
Separately, approximately 1,800 German nationals are reportedly fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, according to Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (Verfassungsschutz). Frankfurt’s Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said on Sunday that German officials revised the previous estimate from 450 and multiplied it by four “in order to get a realistic number.” Included in the 1,800 German jihadists are 40 women and a 13-year old boy, according to German media reports. Regarding Germany’s current internal strife, Israel’s ambassador to Berlin said, “Germany’s society should be concerned. Today extremists agitate against Jews, tomorrow against Yezidis and Kurds, and perhaps the day after against Christians. Germany’s democracy is in danger.”
The number of Islamic radicals is allegedly increasing rapidly in Germany, with intelligence officials estimating that 7,000 Salafist jihadis could be within the country by the end of the year. The Salafis are a radical sect within Islam where followers pursue a strict and literal interpretation of the Quran. The movement is most prevalent in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.