April 25, 2013 (TSR) – German Interior Minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, disclosed on Thursday that Islamist extremists from Germany are fighting alongside the armed terrorist and rebel groups in Syria.
In an interview with the Der Spiegel, a German mainstream media magazine, Friedrich affirmed that German “jihadists” who were under surveillance in the country are now operating in Syria and fighting within the ranks of “the armed opposition” groups which is now a great concern for the nation as those extremists could pose a threat to Germany’s security after they return from Syria.
However, the German Minister did not explain nor admit via a clarification how the German “jihadists” were able to move to Syria while they were under surveillance.
It is important to note that Der Spiegel also reported that US is training the rebels in Jordan, the key troublemaker.
He said Germany is following with deep concern the developments of the situation and the calls for Europeans who participated in the fighting in Syria to return home and continue “jihad” back in their countries:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: A last question on the topic of Syria. Intelligence agencies around the world have been warning that the conflict will become a magnet for foreign jihadists. Are there German fighters in Syria?
Friedrich: We know that jihadists from Germany, whom we were already watching here, are spending time in Syria and fighting on the side of the rebels. We also know of calls for those Europeans who have been trained in battle to return home and pursue jihad. We are following this development with great concern.
Last month, German authorities banned three ultraconservative Islamic groups for foiling a suspected assassination attempt against a prominent far-right politician. The government also banned those who published Internet propaganda videos that helped inspire the extremist who killed two American airmen at Frankfurt airport in 2011.
According to the reports, the Salafi movement, the group that is active in destabilizing the Middle East, in Germany has been growing quickly, attracting both Muslims and converts, primarily men between ages 20 and 30.
In 2011 there were some 3,800 people Salafis known to German authorities. Today, there are now some 4,500 which comprises 70 percent Germans and 30 percent non-Germans. They come from a variety of nations including Turkey, Morocco and Bosnia, according to a security official who was only allowed to discuss the figures on condition of anonymity. About a quarter are Muslim converts.
The Islamist extremists have been under close observation since 2010, especially following the incident where a known German-born terrorist, now based in Pakistan’s border area with Afghanistan called on Salafis in Germany to kill members of pro-NRW as well as employees of Der Spiegel magazine, which printed photos of the demonstrators holding signs showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Hans-Peter Friedrich, 56, has been Federal Interior Minister since March 2011. Prior to his appointment, he was parliamentary leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament. His time in office has been overshadowed by failures of the authorities in the investigation of the NSU neo-Nazi terror cell.
The EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, also revealed Wednesday that hundreds of Europeans have joined the ranks of the armed terrorist groups fighting in Syria.
Europol: Number of Europeans Joining Terrorist Groups in Syria Increasing
A report issued by the European Police Office (Europol) revealed that Syria has witnessed a considerable increase in the number of Europeans who are joining the armed groups, warning that will have repercussions on the security situation in the European Union countries.
The report said that EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove pointed out that the Europeans are coming in hundreds to Syria for fighting, warning that this issue poses a dangerous threat to the security of Europe.