Report: Islamists Joining German Military to Prepare for Attacks

The German army wants applicants to undergo a security check by the military counter-intelligence agency, so it can swiftly spot extremists, terrorists and criminals.

Michelle Martin, Thorsten Severin
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Soldiers hold their weapons during a German army, the Bundeswehr, training and information day in Munster, Germany October 9, 2015.Credit: Reuters
Michelle Martin, Thorsten Severin

REUTERS — There are signs that Islamists are trying to join the German armed forces to get military training, and there is a risk they might use that training to carry out attacks in Germany or abroad, a German newspaper cited a draft document as saying.

Consequently, the armed forces want applicants to undergo a security check by the military counter-intelligence agency, starting in July 2017, so they can swiftly spot extremists, terrorists and criminals, Welt am Sonntag newspaper said in an article due to be published on Sunday.

Such security screening would require changes in the laws governing the military. A draft document justifying such changes, seen by Welt am Sonntag, said there are indications that Islamists are trying to get "so-called short-term servicemen into the armed forces" for training.

Germany is on edge after a series of violent attacks in July, two of which were claimed by ISIS, and the interior minister has already announced plans to step up security.

The cabinet is set to approve a change to the military act next week, the newspaper said, citing security sources. A spokesman for Germany's Defense Ministry said the government was in the process of deciding on the law.

The military counter-intelligence agency is looking into 64 suspected Islamists, 268 suspected right-wing extremists and six suspected left-wing extremists in the armed forces, the newspaper said.