Germany Disrupts Suspected Terror Plot Amid Rising Islamist Threats

(New York, N.Y.) — German police forces on Sunday took a 32-year-old Iranian national into custody on suspicions of obtaining unspecified amounts of cyanide and ricin for use in an “Islamist-motivated” terror attack after having received a tip from a foreign intelligence agency, identified in press reports as the FBI. The suspect’s brother was also detained. It is at least the second time since 2018 that German authorities have made an arrest of a suspect planning an attack using ricin.

Islamism continues to threaten Germany. Germany’s Federal Criminal Police began warning as early as 2014 that the largest threat in Germany emanates from Islamist terror attacks perpetrated by fanatic individuals or small groups. Authorities have also noted small increases in support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah. By the end of 2021, the number of Islamists in Germany stood at more than 28,000 people, a slight decrease of 1.5 percent from 2020, according to Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Authorities, however, have attempted to curb the threat of Islamist extremism by enacting tougher legislation against Islamist extremism, prohibiting travel outside Germany for terrorist training, putting restrictions on foreign fighters, expanding existing laws against terrorist financing, designating Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, and shutting down the Al-Mustafa Community Center, which had been promoting terrorism and support for Hezbollah.

“The threat of Islamist extremism inside Europe, and specifically within Germany, remains high,” said Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Senior Advisor and former Director of the European Union Intelligence Analysis and Situation Centre (EU INTCEN) Dr. Gerhard Conrad. “Germany faces threats from radicalized individuals, returning foreign fighters, and networks within Germany that are closely connected to terrorist groups. It is imperative that the German government and its European partners coordinate and continue to work with each other and the United States to mitigate these threats and disrupt plots before they are fully realized. This arrest may have stopped an extreme act of violence, but it is indicative of a larger and more systemic problem. Furthermore, it underlines once again the urgent need for adequate operational capabilities and legal competencies for early detection and disruption by the German intelligence and security services.”

To read CEP’s resource Germany: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here. 

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On January 27, 2020, Turkish security forces arrested five People’s Protection Units (YPG) members who were allegedly plotting terrorist attacks in Tal Abyad, northern Syria. During the raid, forces recovered weapons, digital materials, and documents relating to the terror group.   

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