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TERRORISM

Germany to extradite Syrian terror suspect to Netherlands

A German court on Wednesday ordered the extradition to the Netherlands of a Syrian suspected of planning a "terrorist crime" there along with four other accused.

Germany to extradite Syrian terror suspect to Netherlands
Photo: DPA

The 26-year-old Syrian was arrested in the German city of Mainz on December 29th, the same day four alleged co-conspirators were detained in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.

Dutch police at the time said the men were suspected of “involvement in the preparation of a terrorist crime”, without giving further details.

The higher regional court in Koblenz said in a statement that it had approved the Dutch authorities' extradition request for the Syrian.

The transfer is expected to take place “early next week”, Koblenz prosecutor Jürgen Brauer added in a separate statement.

The Netherlands has been largely spared the kind of terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbours in the past few years, but there has been a series of recent scares.

Last June two terror suspects were arrested while close to carrying out attacks including at an iconic bridge in Rotterdam and in France, prosecutors said.

In August a 19-year-old Afghan with a German residence permit stabbed and injured two American tourists at Amsterdam's busy Central Station before being shot and wounded.

In September Dutch investigators said they had arrested seven people and
foiled a “major attack” on civilians at a large event in the Netherlands.

They said they had found a large quantity of bomb-making materials
including fertiliser likely to be used in a car bomb.

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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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