October 21, 2016

Police raid suspected Islamist extremists in West German towns

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere

Police carried out raids against suspected Islamist extremists in several towns in the west German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday, the state’s criminal police said.

Raids took place in the towns of Duisburg and Dortmund among others, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) newspaper reported, and targeted preachers who are suspected of trying to recruit young men to fight in Syria and Iraq.

A spokeswoman for the state criminal police referred all further enquiries to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office which was not immediately available for comment.

Germany remains deeply unsettled after 15 people were killed and dozens wounded in five separate attacks between July 18-July 26. Two were claimed by Islamic State, and three of the attackers were asylum seekers.

Germany’s interior minister will propose a raft of new security measures in response to a spate of attacks in July, including speedier deportations and waiving doctor-patient confidentiality in some cases, German media reported on Wednesday.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere will announce the new measures on Thursday and plans to have them adopted in the current legislative period, the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger cited coalition sources as saying. This would mean the proposal would pass into law before the next elections due in autumn 2017.

The new measures include speeding up deportations of foreign potential attackers and criminals and the introduction of a new reason for deportation: “danger to public safety”, daily Bild reported citing security sources.

The Interior Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

The Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger said the new legislation would also facilitate data retention and limit how long migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected could stay in the country.

In addition, the proposed law could allow doctors in certain instances to break confidentiality and inform the authorities if their patients confided in them about any planned crimes, Bild reported.

The measures build on a nine-point plan to improve security announced by Chancellor Angela Merkel in the wake of the attacks, the paper said.

Separately, state interior ministers belonging to Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and her Bavarian allies the Christian Social Union (CSU), also want to strengthen Germany’s security laws and have come up with a series of demands, according to the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND).

A CDU spokesman said he could not comment on the plan as it was a state initiative.

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