Far-right terrorism Germany’s biggest security threat, intelligence agency warns

Far-right terrorism is the biggest security policy challenge to Germany, the country’s domestic intelligence agency has warned in an annual report released on Thursday.

According to the BfV agency there were 32,080 right-wing extremists in Germany last year, an increase of nearly 8,000 from 2018. Around 13,000 are believed to be ready to use violence, up 300 from 2018.

Included in the report are about 7,000 youth members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and a radical faction known as The Wing, which have both come under increased surveillance because of extremism fears.

Thomas Haldenwang, who heads up the BfV, said there was a "competition" among far-right terrorists to kill as many people as possible during an attack.

"We're talking about breaking a 'high score' of number of victims," he said. "We have to break this trend."

“[Far-right extremism] is the biggest security policy challenge in our country,” interior minister Horst Seehofer said.

“Racism and antisemitism merge to a very considerable degree out of right-wing extremism," Mr Seehofer said. "Over 90 per cent of antisemitic incidents can be traced back to right-wing extremism. And therefore it is not an exaggeration to say this is the biggest security policy concern in our country,” he added.There are also concerns about antisemitism.

German authorities pledged to step up measures against far-right extremism after the killing of a regional politician by a suspected neo-Nazi, an attack on a synagogue in Halle and the fatal shooting of nine people in Hanau over the past year.

The number of far-left extremists increased by 1,500 to 33,500 last year, according to the report. More than two-thirds of those are classified as “not violence-orientated”.

The report also counts about 28,020 people in Germany with tendencies towards Islamic extremism, up from 26,560 in 2018.

Mr Seehofer gave a warning that the danger from Islamist terrorism “is still very high”.

Source: The national