Germany probing more Islamists than ever: authorities

26th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Germany is conducting more investigations against Islamic terror suspects than ever before, as the country's involvement in Afghanistan deepens, the Federal Crime Office (BKA) said Monday.

"Across the country, we now have 350 investigations into people with Islamic backgrounds, the most ever," Joerg Ziercke, the head of the BKA, told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung regional daily.

Around one third of these probes concern attacks on German soldiers in Afghanistan, Ziercke added.

Authorities are tracking approximately 1,100 people in Germany "with Islamic terrorist potential," he said, adding that trips to terrorist training camps had risen significantly since 2009.

"Since then, a German community has established itself on the Hindu Kush," he said, referring to the mountain range connecting the north and south of Afghanistan.

"This group, containing between 10 and 12 people, is trying to win over fellow Germans with Jihadist propaganda and unfortunately, they are succeeding."

Germany currently has 4,400 soldiers fighting a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, the third-largest provider of troops in the NATO-led force.

The mission has become increasingly unpopular in the country as more soldiers have lost their lives.

Some 70 percent now support the immediate withdrawal of German troops from Afghanistan, according to a poll by independent opinion research institute Infratest dimap.

© 2010 AFP

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