Islamic terrorism still a threat: Germany

2011-07-01 20:06

Berlin - Germany's top security official said on Friday that the terrorist threat to the country hasn't decreased and the number of radicals continues to grow, even with the death of Osama bin Laden.

Security officials saw no reason to lower Germany's threat level following the death of the al-Qaeda leader, said Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, presenting the annual report by Germany's domestic intelligence agency.

"The Islamist terrorist threat is widely varied and has not concentrated on a single leader of al-Qaeda for a long time," he said.

"We have had a general threat situation in Germany and Europe that has not changed for two years, but there are no concrete dangers."

The number of people in Germany linked to radical Islamic groups rose to 37 470 in Germany in 2010, up from 36 270 the year before, according to the report from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Most of those - 31 370 - were connected to Turkish groups, nearly all of them in Milli Gorus, a group whose founder advocates creating an Islamic state in Turkey.

Most worrying was the increase in numbers in "Salafi" groups that espouse an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam and have been especially successful at recruiting young people, said Heinz Fromm, who heads the domestic intelligence agency.

He noted that a 21-year-old Kosovo-born ethnic Albanian Muslim charged with killing two US airmen outside Frankfurt's airport in March had allegedly been inspired by watching Salafi videos online.

"Not every Salafi is a terrorist but almost every terrorist that we are aware of has had contact with a Salafi," Fromm said.