Germany Thwarted Three Terror Attacks Since 2016 Berlin Attack, Interior Minister Says

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Berlin: Scene where a truck plowed through a crowd at a Christmas market, Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016.
Berlin: Scene where a truck plowed through a crowd at a Christmas market, Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016.Credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH/REUTERS

Security authorities in Germany prevented three terrorist attacks this year, the country's interior minister said.

The operations attested to the "very good work of our authorities and the coordination with foreign services," Thomas de Maiziere told newspaper Bild on Sunday.

The security services were now acting faster at averting potential dangers, de Maiziere said. Since 2000, some 16 planned attacks were thwarted, he added.

On December 19 of last year, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring close to 100. De Maiziere said that investigations into the attacker were ongoing, and that "more light was being shed on his associates."

Two incidents took place in November, the first being the arrest of six Syrians suspected of planning an attack using weapons or explosives on behalf of the Islamic State militant group, German prosecutors said at the time.

Police detained the suspects aged between 20 and 28 during raids in the cities of Kassel, Hanover, Essen and Leipzig, the general prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt said in a statement.

Four of the suspects arrived in Germany in December 2014 and two arrived the following year. Prosecutors said the six Syrians “are suspected of being members of the foreign terrorist organization that calls itself Islamic State (IS)”.

They added: “The accused are also suspected of having planned an attack against a public target in Germany using either weapons or explosives.”

Earlier in November, German security forces arrested a 19-year-old Syrian man on suspicion of planning a bomb attack.

And Germany is not the only country in Europe that is facing this threat. Young men of Middle Eastern origins, inspired by terror group such as ISIS,  are attempting to strike the continent more and more.

Large cities such as London, Brussels, Barcelona and Paris have come under attack in 2017, with multiple attacks later being claimed by ISIS.

As Europe bolsters its security measures, it eyes Israel, which has long suffered from the menace of terrorism and has devised multiple techniques to fend off threats, for advice.

Just last week while visiting the European Union, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that ISIS has been posing a significant threat to Europe in recent years and that Israel has taken it upon itself to crush the terror group in the Middle East where it encroaches on the borders of the Jewish state.

Israel is acting to prevent ISIS from spreading, Netanyahu told European foreign ministers he dined with while on an official visit in Brussels. "We do this to protect ourselves but also Europe. There is no country in the Mideast that protects Europe like Israel."

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