Wave of Terrorist Violence Triggers Debates Over Security, Refugees in Germany

By James Carstensen | July 27, 2016 | 6:31 PM EDT

German police officers guard a terminal of the airport in Frankfurt in March. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

Berlin (CNSNews.com) – A spate of terror attacks in Germany, including its first ever suicide bombing on Sunday, has stoked fresh debate over security, and a senior state minister is suggesting that strict constitutional limits on military deployment, put in place after Germany’s defeat in World War II, should be considered obsolete.

“We have an absolutely stable democracy in our country,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann said in comments published Sunday – before the latest attack.

“It would be completely incomprehensible … if we had a terrorist situation like Brussels in Frankfurt, Stuttgart or Munich and we were not permitted to call in the well-trained forces of the Bundeswehr, even though they stand ready.”

“Islamist terrorism has arrived in Germany,” said Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer Tuesday, after a Syrian asylum-seeker carried out Germany’s first suicide bombing, injuring 15 people at a music festival in the Bavarian town of Ansbach on Sunday night.

The bomber, whose refugee application had been rejected, left a video pledging allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to Herrmann.

Only hours before the Ansbach attack, another Syrian asylum-seeker killed a woman in Reutlingen in the southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

Earlier in the week, a young Afghan jihadist attacked people with an axe on a train in Würzburg, before police shot him dead. Subsequent investigations found the teenager said he was inspired by ISIS.

With the state of Bavaria particularly hard hit by the recent violence, its cabinet on Tuesday introduced proposals for increased security.

Seehofer who is also chairman of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) called for a harder line over deportations in the wake of Sunday's attack.

He said that the people in the country were frightened and needed a clear response from the state, adding that Bavaria was “very, very determined” to proceed and that a visible police presence was needed.

The proposals, to be discussed in a five-day meeting, include calls for increased police presence and tighter controls on refugees, such as expiating the deportation process of rejected asylum seekers.

“Until now, there was a consensus that you don't deport rejected asylum seekers to a war zone,” Münchner Merkur quoted him as saying. “But we have to seriously consider how these people are treated in future, especially when they pose a threat.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel has scheduled a press conference for Thursday to address the growing concerns of Germans.

Adding to the anxiety, a young German man went on a killing spree in the Bavarian capital, Munich, on Saturday, killing nine people in a shooting not now thought to have had an ideological terrorist motivation.

The outburst of violence in Germany occurred as Europe was still reeling from the Bastille Day attack in Nice, France that resulted in 84 deaths, and this week’s hostage-taking and murder of a priest in a church in northern France.

The attackers in Wurzburg and Ansbach pledged allegiance to ISIS, although investigations so far indicate the terrorist group did not provide support.

Despite the bomber in Ansbach leaving a video pledge to ISIS, Hermann reported that there was no evidence he was in contact or directed by ISIS in carrying out his attack.

Although IS[IS] has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, none … seems to have been planned, logistically supported or executed directly by IS[IS],” stated the European policing agency Europol.

“Members of terrorist groups or returning foreign fighters with E.U. passports travel as a rule into the European Union with genuine or faked passports,” a Europol spokesman said. “Many of them have neither the intention nor the capability to launch terrorist attacks.”

However, this may do little to quell fears in Germany. Reutlingen, Ansbach and Würzburg were all acts of terror – and all involved refugees.

The incidents reflect the dangers posed by Islamist radicalization in Germany – which has taken in over one million refugees – even if perpetrators do not have direct support from groups like ISIS.

Since Merkel announced a “welcoming culture” for all refugees, a growing number of Germans have become increasingly critical of her refugee policy, and many are expressing fears as attacks occurred abroad and now at home.

Merkel has also received criticism for being on holiday during the recent attacks, and for not responding to the attacks as quickly as foreign leaders such as President Obama or French President Francois Hollande.

While many Germans fear terrorists could have entered the country posing as migrants, disaffected refugee youths, seen as susceptible to radicalization, are a growing concern.

The suicide bomber in Ansbach, for example, was a failed asylum applicant, who arrived in Germany two years ago but whose application was rejected months later. He was domiciled in Germany, due for deportation to Bulgaria.

Armin Schuster, Christian Democrats homeland expert, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung Tuesday that over 200,000 such failed asylum claimants are still in the country, suggesting Germany is failing to properly enforce the deportation of rejected seekers.

Europol has reported that hundreds of potential Islamist terrorists are located across Europe.

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