Germany’s interior minister has warned that the country is home to more than 500 Islamic militants who could be capable of carrying out assaults on their own or as members of “hit teams.”
Speaking in an interview with Bild newspaper, Thomas de Maiziere said there were currently at least 520 “potential attackers” in the country, which has been on edge since two Islamic State-inspired attacks in July.
He said another 360 “relevant” people were known to police because of their close proximity to the potential attackers.
“The terror threat now stems from foreign hit teams as well as fanatical lone wolves in Germany,” de Maiziere said in the interview leading up to the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
“The hit teams are secretly smuggled into Europe and prepare their actions without being noticed, as we saw with the attacks in Paris and Brussels,” he added. “But it’s even more difficult to uncover the fanatical lone wolves. Unfortunately, there is a real and present danger from both threats.”
de Maiziere said Germany’s security authorities are using all their resources to monitor “the potential terrorists” and reported an increase in investigations and arrests in 2016. In spite of their efforts, he confirmed, “the authorities are assuming there are undiscovered lone wolf terrorists out there.”