German police thwarts Islamic State attack in Essen

German police closed down the Limbecker Platz shopping mall in Essen during morning hours local time on 11 March, due to an alleged planned Islamic State attack. Authorities arrested two people in nearby Oberhausen in connection to the attack. An investigation of the matter continued.

Germany currently tracks approximately 548 Islamists in the country that are considered a threat. In February 2017 police raided some 50 buildings in a 1,000-strong counter-terrorism operation. The effectivity of intelligence services was criticised in following the attacks in Paris, Brussels and Berlin and also in the context of a change in strategy of the so-called Islamic State. The main threats are returning foreign fighters and the possible infiltration of Islamists in migrant camps, which prompted the Court of Justice of the European Union to allow member states to reject asylum to migrants suspected of terror links. However, the country also faces radicalisation of the far-right.

About author: Petr Boháček

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