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SECURITY

Security reinforced at airports in western Germany: police

Security was reinforced Thursday at several airports in western Germany, police said, amid some unconfirmed media reports of a terrorist threat.

Security reinforced at airports in western Germany: police
Stuttgart Airport was one of the airports affected by a potential terrorist threat. Photo: DPA

Heavily armed police were patrolling late Thursday in several airports, including Stuttgart, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Friedrichshafen, and Mannheim, according to a federal police spokesman.

The reinforced presence of police will remain in place until further notice, the spokesman added.

At the same time there has been no disruption to flights, a spokeswoman for 
the airports said.

Some German media have speculated as an explanation for the beefed up security the spotting of four men, including a radical Islamist, allegedly suspected of planning an attack, which police did not confirm.

Several days ago, the men were filmed by a surveillance camera at Stuttgart airport, the daily Tagesspiegel reported. They remained near the metal detectors without taking a flight and without baggage.

And Südwestrundfunk,  a media group in western Germany, reported that Moroccan authorities had informed their German counterparts that they had 

intercepted conversations referring to a possible attack at an airport near the German-French border.

Small airports have also reinforced security controls “as a precaution”, police at Reutlingen said.

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TERRORISM

Anti-Semitism ‘massive problem’ in Germany, says Jewish leader on terror attack anniversary

On the second anniversary of a far-right terror attack at a German synagogue, the German Jewish Council has warned that the government needs to make more efforts to stop the spread of anti-Semitism online.

Anti-Semitism 'massive problem' in Germany, says Jewish leader on terror attack anniversary
A star of David on the roof of the Halle synagogue. Photo: dpa-Zentralbild | Hendrik Schmidt

Two years after a terrorist attack in the east German town of Halle that left two people dead, Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews, said that more needed to be done in the fight against anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism.

“The spread and incitement of hate, for example in the form of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories via social media, is a massive problem,” Schuster told DPA.

On October 9th 2019, a heavily armed right-wing extremist called Stephan Balliet tried to enter the Halle city synagogue on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

When he failed to do so, he shot a 40-year-old passerby. He later killed a 20-year-old man at a kebab shop. While trying to escape, the 28-year-old injured several people before he was caught by the police.

The city of Halle is commemorating the event on Saturday, with wreaths to be laid at the scene of the crime. Reiner Haseloff, state leader of Saxony-Anhalt, is expected to attend.

Balliet was sentenced to life in prison in 2020 by the Naumburg Higher Regional Court. His sentence will be followed by preventive detention.

Funs for synagogue security

While praising the German government for introducing a law that makes social media companies responsible for hateful content posted on their sites, Schuster said that the legislation needed to be extended to messenger services such as Telegram.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that the internet is not a lawless space,” he said.

According to Schuster, the German government reacted quickly after the Halle attack by providing money to improve security at Jewish institutions.

This was an important step, he said. “However, there is still much to be done at the political and social level to combat growing anti-Semitism.”

SEE ALSO: Four held over foiled ‘Islamist’ attack on German synagogue

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