German Police Arrest Islamist Plotting Truck Attack on Jewish Event ━ The European Conservative

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Police in the German city of Duisburg have arrested a known Islamist with a criminal record who was allegedly planning to drive a truck through a pro-Israel demonstration. 

German police were tipped off to the alleged plans of Tarik S. by a foreign intelligence service, Die Welt reports. Tarik S. is a well-known German-born Islamist who fought with the Islamic State in Syria under the name “Osama the German.”

The 29-year-old is said to have also been somewhat of a poster child for the terrorist group, having appeared in multiple propaganda videos, including one in which he posed next to a person whom the group had beheaded.

After spending three years fighting for the Islamic State, Tarik S. returned to Germany in 2016 where he was arrested upon his return and charged by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office for his activities in the Middle East. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017. 

It remains unclear to what extent the former Islamic State fighter’s plan had advanced, but German media reports suggest he had recently searched for both pro-Israel events and content relating to radical Islamic extremism on the internet. 

Even though he has been taken into custody due to his potential threat to the safety of the public, Tarik S. may be released in the coming days as German courts have been reluctant to charge him or issue an official arrest warrant.

The planned attack is likely a copy of the 2016 Berlin Christmas market attack by terrorist Anis Amri, a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia, who drove a truck through the busy market in December of that year killing a dozen people and wounding dozens of others.  

Like Tarik S., Amri was also affiliated with the Islamic State and pledged his allegiance to the group in a video that was later posted online. He was fatally shot by Italian police four days after the attack. 

German security services remain vigilant and concerned over the possibility of attacks relating to the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel. Sinan Selen, Vice President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, stated in a closed-door meeting earlier this month that there is a threat of “long-term aggravation of the security situation.”

Selen added that the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel is “likely to bring about mobilization potential in the extremist and terrorist community worldwide and a solidarity effect with the corresponding risk-increasing elements.”

Martina Link, vice president of the German Federal Criminal Police Office added, “We expect that there will be corresponding calls for attacks on Israeli targets in Western states from these circles in the foreseeable future.”

So far, Germany has seen several pro-Palestine protests that have erupted into violence. As many as 65 police were injured during a protest in Berlin last week that led to the arrests of 174 people. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz slammed the demonstrators who shouted antisemitic slogans. “Antisemitism has no place in Germany, and we will do everything we can to stand against it. We will do this as citizens, as those who bear political responsibility,” Scholz said.

Antisemitism has, however, greatly increased since the start of the Israeli-Hamas conflict according to the Federal Association of Research and Information Centres on Anti-Semitism (Rias), which recorded 202 antisemitic incidents since the start of the conflict on October 7th, a 240% increase compared to the same period in 2022. 

In one case, an attempt was made by two masked individuals to set a synagogue on fire in the Mitte district of Berlin on Brunnenstraße in the early hours of Wednesday morning last week. 

While Germany has yet to see a terrorist attack since the start of the conflict, attacks have been seen in France, where teacher Dominique Bernard was stabbed to death by a Chechen Islamist outside a school in Arras. 

Just days later in Brussels, Tunisian illegal immigrant Abdesalem Lassoued killed two Swedish nationals before being fatally shot hours later by Belgian police.

It later emerged that Lassoued had been a known Islamist in his native Tunisia, had escaped a lengthy prison sentence in 2011, and was under an extradition request from Tunisia, but the request had been forgotten by Brussels prosecutors. The fallout led to the resignation of Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

While there have been at least two terror attacks since the start of the Israeli-Hamas conflict it remains unclear whether they were directly linked to the conflict.

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