About one-third of the close to 1,000 Germans who travelled to fight for ISIS have returned to the country.
Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), warned that many women and children “had become so radicalized and identify so deeply with IS-ideology that, by all accounts, they must also be identified as jihadis.”
“There are children who have been brainwashed and highly radicalized at ‘schools’ in IS-held areas,” Maassen said in an interview with Deutsche Presse Agentur.
“It’s a problem for us because many of these kids and teenagers can sometimes be dangerous.”
The number of terrorism-related cases investigated by German authorities have quadrupled over the past year, according to newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
Prosecutors have opened more than 900 cases so far in 2017, compared to 240 throughout 2016. Eighty cases related to terrorism reached the courts in 2013.
Germany’s federal police (BKA) estimates that 705 Islamist extremists are willing to carry out terror attacks, up from 600 during an estimate in February.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV) recently said around 24,400 Islamists are active in the country but most of them don’t pose an immediate terror threat.
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