Security services are overwhelmed by the sheer number of potential jihadists that must be surveilled:
Germany’s domestic security chief warned on Sunday that the country’s radical Islamist scene is not only growing, but becoming more decentralized, posing greater challenges to surveillance operations.In an interview with national news agency DPA, Hans-Georg Maaßen also defended security officials under fire after it emerged that Berlin truck attack suspect Anis Amri had slipped through their net, saying they had done everything they could.
Overall, the number of Salafists – or fundamentalist Sunni Muslims – in Germany has risen to more than 9,700, sharply up from 3,800 people in 2011, said Maaßen.
“It’s of great concern to us that this scene is not only growing, but it is also very diversified. There is not just one, two, three or four people who have a say,” he warned.
“Rather, there are many people who dominate this Salafist scene. And all these people have to be watched.”
A complicating factor:
“I believe that the security forces, in particular the police, have done everything in their power to assess the danger posed by Amri. But it is also clear that we live under the rule of law, and the legal framework must be respected.”
Failure to act can prove fatal:
Amri, 24, who was shot dead by Italian police days after ramming a truck into a crowded Christmas market, had been under surveillance since March. But German police dropped their watch in September thinking he was a small-time drug dealer.
Public anger also mounted as the rejected asylum seeker and known radical Islamist should have been deported long ago.
A simple solution: don’t let them in or kick them out.