Jihadis in Europe 'euphoric', warns German intelligence report

The military success of so-called Islamic State (ISIS) has resulted in "euphoria among jihadists in Europe", and has raised the terrorist threat in Europe to a new level, according to the latest report published by Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, an agency of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

The 2014 annual report, known as Verfassungsschutzbericht, warns that "IS has gone beyond being a mere terrorist organisation" and that returning militant fighters from Syria and Iraq pose a considerable threat to the country's security.

"Its proclamation of the 'caliphate' and its military success have led to euphoria among jihadists also in Europe, regardless of the atrocities committed by jihadi militias and the terror spread by them," the report says.

The jihadi group, which has attracted fighters from across the world, announced the establishment of a 'caliphate' including wide swathes of Syria and Iraq last summer. Despite some territorial losses in April this year, the group took control of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in May. In the same month Isis also conquered the ancient city of Palmyra leading to a monitoring group declaring that the group controlled more than 50% of Syria.

As of early 2015, more than 600 German or German-based Islamists departed for Syria or Iraq to join the fighting and support Islamist groups, compared to 270 departures in early 2014, representing an increase of more than 100% within one year.

The report warns that al-Qaeda could also present a growing threat in the future, as it attempts to compete with Isis. "It is to be feared that al-Qaeda will try to make up for its loss of reputation by carrying out new spectacular terrorist attacks", it says.

Focusing more on the domestic risk, the report found that Salafists - fundamentalists who believe in a return to the original ways of Islam - "continue to be the most dynamic Islamist movement in Germany" in 2014, with 7,000 adherents compared to 5,500 in the previous year.

It goes on to say that the Salafist scene represents a very important recruitment ground for jihadi groups, and that almost all individuals with links to Germany who have joined jihadi groups had previously been in contact with Salafist structures in the country.

The report found that Hezbollah has 950 active operatives in Germany and Hamas, which is a designated terrorist organisation in Germany, has 300, according to the Jerusalem Post. The Merkel administration banned Hezbollah's military wing in 2013 but still allows its political wing to operate.

The report also examines the rise of both Right-wing and Left-wing violence in the country. The number of attacks by Right-wing extremists soared to 990 in 2014, marking a 23.6% from 2013. The number of xenophobic attacks, which the report tallied at 512, reached its highest number ever.

According to the Deutsche Welle newspaper, the German interior minister Thomas de Maizière said that the 170 criminal acts directed at refugee shelters in 2014, three times the number as in the previous year, were "beyond shocking".

An increase in Left-wing violence was also recorded, with the report highlighting the violent protests that accompanied the opening of the new European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt earlier this year. Left-wing extremists operated with a "destructive frenzy and an appetite for violence" said de Maizière.

This article was amended to make clear that details referring to Hezbollah and Hamas operatives in Germany originated from the Jerusalem Post, and not the German intelligence report itself.

Jihadis in Europe 'euphoric', warns German intelligence report |