Last year, like preceding years, was a busy year for Islamic terrorists in Germany.
Germany’s year of terrorism began in March with a lovely Muslim couple — the husband a Tunisian, the wife a German citizen — arrested for planning a chemical attack. The federal prosecutor’s office said the husband, 30-year-old Sief Allah A., had acquired knowledge of how to turn ricin into a weapon and had ordered 3,300 grams of the poison online.
Arrested in Cologne, the married pair also face charges of planning attacks using metal balls and homemade explosives. They also both had sought membership in the Islamic State (IS). They had started planning their attacks in 2018 after Sief Ali had failed twice to cross over Turkey’s border into Syria.
Also in March, German police raided and arrested 11 Salafists in the Hesse and Rhineland-Pfalz areas, two of whom were brothers. According to the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office, they “jointly agreed to carry out an Islamic terrorist attack employing a vehicle and firearms in order to kill as many ‘unbelievers’ as possible.”
The men were between 20 and 42 years of age and had contacted weapons dealers, rented a large truck and gathered money for the attack, $22,000 of which was seized in the raid. They had even committed a crime to get money for their evil plan.
The Rhine-Main area, according to German officials, counts as a main area of Hesse’s Salafist scene. Searches and razzias in connection with radical Islam have taken place many times in the past years. Hesse’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Germany’s FBI) estimates the number of Islamists in the state in 2017 as 4,170, of whom Salafists made up 1,650.
In April, German police raided in nine of Germany’s 15 states the premises of what they considered an Islamist network. Particularly targeted were two supposed Islamic charities, Ansar International and WWR Help. Officials, apparently, had been watching Ansar for a long time.
Both charities are suspected of helping Hamas “propagandistically and financially” under their charitable cloak, said the federal interior minister. Hamas is outlawed as a terrorist organization in Germany.
“Whoever under the cloak of humanitarian help supports Hamas, despises the fundamental values of our constitution,” said the interior minister.
Ansar in Germany was founded in Dusseldorf in 2012 and is active in over 50 countries, especially in the Middle East.
In May, police arrested eight after a raid of apartments in Oberhausen by a special commando. They were not suspected of plotting a terrorist attack but rather of supporting the Islamic State, to which they sent money.
Most of the arrested were from Bosnia and Herzegovina and were related. Four of the arrested were men, the other four women.
In September, similar raids of 16 properties were carried out in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany against 11 people also suspected of financially supporting the Islamic State. The group’s members came mainly from Syria.
In October in Limburg, a man hijacked a truck and plowed into eight vehicles, injuring seven who were treated in hospital. The man was from Syria and arrived in Germany in 2015, the year federal chancellor Angela Merkel let one million refugees from Syria into Germany.
The Syrian dragged the driver from his truck by force before hijacking it. The driver asked the man, “What do you want from me?” but the Syrian said nothing.
After the crash, the Syrian was bleeding from his nose, had bloody hands, and said “My whole body hurts.” He stated his name was Mohammed.
The next Islamic terrorist incident occurred in November in Offenbach. Three suspected members of the Islamic state were arrested after a raid of three apartments by 170 police officials.
One of the suspects was of Macedonian heritage and was 24 years of age while the other two were Turkish citizens. The Macedonian had acquired parts for the manufacture of explosives and searched for weapons on the Darknet.
All three were already known to police and were friends for many years, growing up in Offenbach. Police said it was unclear whether they were being guided by an Islamic State member in Syria or Iraq.
Also in November, German police arrested a “radical Islamist” from Syria who had been living in Germany since 2014. Prosecutors said the man was planning an attack designed to “kill and injure a maximum number of people.” According to a German television station, the 26-year-old man was at the top of a federal police list of dangerous Islamist extremists. His name was not released.
American intelligence had actually tipped off their German counterparts about the man. The Americans said the man “obtained information online on how to build bombs and talked in internet chats about planning an attack.” German prosecutors said the Syrian “had begun to acquire the requisite components and chemicals for the construction of an explosive device.” The man worked as a janitor in a Berlin elementary school.
December saw the sentencing of a woman, Songul G., to five years and nine months in prison for attempting in a “highly conspirative” manner to smuggle IS terrorists into Germany.
“She wanted to assist the bringing of terror to Germany,” said the judge at the sentencing. “You are not as naïve as you would make us believe.”
The veiled woman defended herself by saying she acted out of naivete and perfidious propaganda. The judge, however, said she “acted highly conspiratively and from her radical Islamic conviction.”
The lovely lady, who converted to Islam in 1999, dreamed of life in the “Caliphate” and of “death to the unbelievers.” She made preparations to travel to Syria with her three children, all the time wondering whether she could still receive German government money for her children in Syria.
The judge found Songul wanting to take her three children to the Syrian war zone particularly reprehensible.
“You knew exactly what to expect there, and despite this you wanted to take your three children,” said the judge, adding that in Syria, “children have to cut off the heads of prisoners or shoot them in the face.”
Songul found a “vent” for her hate in planning a terrorist attack “against a large music festival in the Hildesheim area.” Women were being sought in Germany to marry IS terrorists who would carry out the attack. Marriage, it was hoped, would get them into the country. Songul said she was prepared to marry a potential attacker. Two such IS terrorists, camouflaged as refugees, were arrested in Turkey on their way to Germany.
Songul took up training as a truck driver but became known for her radical statements. She once said, in answer to a question where she wanted to drive to: “I’m going to drive over the next Christmas market.” This was possibly in reference to the horrific Berlin Christmas market attack in 2016 in which a Tunisian deliberately ran over and killed 12 people with a truck.
Besides all these Islamic terrorist incidents in 2019, police also had to deal with 116 former members of the Islamic State returning from Syria. Returning IS members have been involved in terrorist plots in other European countries such as France. These Germans also have to be investigated for crimes they may have committed as IS members.
“We are dealing with a high number of returners, who committed crimes in connection with the human-despising Islamic State,” said a federal member of parliament.
Looking back at 2019, one thing can almost be known for certain: there will be no rest for German security forces in 2020.