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Spy agency boss warns Germany is high on Isis target list

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Spy agency boss warns Germany is high on Isis target list
Hans-Georg Maaßen speaking on Monday. Photo: DPA.
15:38 CEST+02:00
The leader of Germany's domestic security agency (BfV) warned on Monday that Germany is a high priority for terror group Isis.

BfV President Hans-Georg Maaßen said on Monday that Isis has its eyes set on Europe, according to Die Welt.

“At the same time, Germany is becoming more highly prioritized by Isis, according to our assessments,” he said.

Al-Qaeda still remains a serious threat as well, according to Maaßen, adding that the group “is powerful like before and could try to redeem its loss of reputation through new, dramatic terror attacks”.

The intelligence agency estimates there to be around 10,000 Salafists in the country, 670 of whom are considered potentially dangerous.

Germany saw three violent attacks last year linked to Isis, including the December 19th truck attack that killed 12 people in Berlin.

Maaßen further argued that German security agencies must be given more powers and improved structures.

“It is essential that the gaps in security be closed,” he said.

The spy boss supported, among other things, the push by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to make intelligence agencies more centrally supervised, rather than having each state lead their own operations.

State leaders harshly condemned de Maizière's plan when he first announced it following the Berlin attack and criticism of how German security officials failed to stop the perpetrator.

Maaßen also said that intelligence agents needed better access to information concerning suspicious persons. For example, he said that if there is evidence that someone returned from a war zone with attack plans, and that they were sitting in seat 28A of their plane, German intelligence should be able to find out who was sitting next to them in seat 28B.

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