IF you discount the 2011 Frankfurt attack directed toward the US on German soil, it would be nearly 20 years since the 1996 attack in a German church.
A bomb exploded at a Christmas Eve service in a Lutheran church in 1996, killing three people. Six others are wounded, with two suffering critical injuries. The blast occurred when a masked woman entered the church service in the suburb of Sindlingen.
But the terrorists are trying. Very hard.
In May 2015, authorities raided homes across Germany and took four anti-Muslim terrorism suspects into custody. They are accused of having planned attacks on mosques and asylum seekers. The suspects — who had recently founded a group called “Oldschool Society” — are believed to be right-wing extremists. “The four arrested procured explosives for possible terror attacks by the group,” a statement by German police authorities specified. According to Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, a first terror plot on a refugee housing center might have been imminent.
In April 2015, police thwarted a planned Islamist attack after detaining a couple with suspected Salafist militant links, one of whom was seen along the route of a popular May Day cycle race in Frankfurt. Public prosecutor Albrecht Schreiber said a search of their home had turned up an automatic assault weapon, 100 rounds of live ammunition, chemicals commonly used in preparing home-made bombs and a canister full of petrol.
In February 2015, the Merkel government approved a new law meant to mitigate radical Islamist attacks, by making it a criminal offence to travel abroad to receive military training.
In February 2015, Police in the northwestern German city of Bremen said that they had received information “from a federal authority” about “activities of potential Islamist offenders.” They said that “coordinated and appropriate security measures” were being taken to combat the threat of a terrorist attack, including in public spaces.
In January 2015, police in the northern city of Braunschweig canceled a Carnival parade after receiving concrete information about possible attacks with an Islamist background, while on January 19, a demonstration by the “anti-Islamization” group PEGIDA was called off for similar reasons.
In January 2015, the German authorities moved to detain the five Turks in Berlin suspected of abetting terrorism on the grounds that it was too dangerous to leave them at large. “We were afraid that these people will flee and had to rush in,” said Martin Steltner, spokesman for the Berlin state prosecutor’s office. Three of the five were released. All five had ties to a Berlin mosque where one of the two men who remained in custody, a 41-year-old Turk, acted as an “emir” linked to terrorism, the police said. Mr. Steltner said the action had long been prepared and had no link to the Paris attacks.
In June 2014, Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, said young Muslims in Germany are increasingly being radicalized online and by charismatic, extremist leaders in their neighborhoods. The number of adherents attributed by the agency to the ultra-rigid Salafi interpretation of Islam has soared to about 6,000 in Germany from 4,500 in 2012. Some of those radicalized have traveled to join the fight against the Assad regime in Syria and have been inflaming the situation further via grisly, euphoric social-media posts seen by people back home, he said. “If you just look at how many ‘Likes’ those pictures get and how much they’re linked to, it’s quite frightening,” Mr. Maassen said. “It makes clear that there are people in Germany who are prepared to become radicalized.”
In November 2011, Beate Zschaepe, an alleged German neo-Nazi of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) was accused of involvement in a 10-person killing spree surrendered to the police. She was the sole surviving member of a gang behind the murders. Zschaepe was accused by prosecutors of murder for alleged complicity in the killing of eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007. The group believed immigrants in the country would up and leave if they killed enough of them.
In August 2010, an important meeting place for extremists, the Taiba mosque in Hamburg was shut down. Many of the men who attended the terror camps, frequently visited the mosque, sparking a police investigation. 911 suicide pilot Mohammed Atta also used to frequent the mosque, which investigators say has been supporting terrorism for years
In September 2007, German authorities detained three IJU operatives, including two German converts, disrupting the group’s plans to attack targets in Germany—including the Ramstein Airbase where the primary targets would be U.S. diplomats, soldiers and civilians. A fourth suspect was arrested soon after in Turkey. The operatives, known as the Sauerland cell, had acquired approximately 700 kilograms of hydrogen peroxide and an explosives precursor, which they secretly stockpiled in a garage in southern Germany. Had the plot succeeded, it would have been the biggest attack in Europe, more powerful than the bombs used in the Madrid and London train attacks in 2004 and 2005 respectively
In July 2006 home-made bombs were found on trains heading out of Cologne. There was also the Sauerland terrorist cell which was busted in September 2007, just as the radical Islamists were planning a series of car bombings in Germany.
The three gunmen in the Paris attacks, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, had all been monitored at various points by French law enforcement and intelligence agencies but were nonetheless able to plan and execute attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.
American intelligence agencies have estimated that 18,000 foreigners, including 3,000 Europeans and other Westerners, have traveled to Syria and Iraq since the fight in the region broke out in 2011.
The German authorities said that some 600 people had headed from Germany to Syria and Iraq, with at least 180 now returned. At least 30 of those have battle experience, the German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said. Others are “brutalized” by their experience, said Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service. As far as possible, he said, they are watched.
In 2014, Germany received 200,000 asylum requests, a number that could double this year.
Often the ones to watch are the Arsonists, robbers and the ones caught with explosives. These are the three predictors of future behaviors that pose the threats.
The off shore threats continue.
In August 2015, A video was released showing two German-speaking Islamic State (Isis) militants shooting a pair of bound male hostages dead in the Syrian city of Palmyra, before urging ‘lone wolves’ to hit Germany and Austria with terrorist attacks.
In June 2015, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reported that a German tourist was among the victims in the Tunisian beach attack. Another German was injured in the attack.