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TERRORISM

Germany to create 300 jobs to combat right-wing extremism

Germany's domestic intelligence agency is creating 300 jobs to crackdown on right-wing terrorism and "extremist activities in the public sector".

Germany to create 300 jobs to combat right-wing extremism
Headquarters of the Bundesamts für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Following a series of high-profile incidents of right-wing extremism – such as the murder of the pro-refugee politician Walter Lübcke in June – the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Germany's domestic intelligence agency) is to be massively upgraded.

READ ALSO: Political link suspected in German pro-migrant politician's murder

That's according to a plan presented Tuesday by Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) and domestic intelligence President Thomas Haldenwang in Berlin. 

The 300 additional jobs are being created to better monitor the right-wing extremist scene, including identifying terrorist cells and individual perpetrators at an early stage, according to information obtained by Spiegel Online. 

Social networks and the Internet are also to be monitored more closely to identify possible extremists who could use violence, radicalize themselves or network with other extremists.

The planned “Central Office for the Investigation of Right-wing Extremist Activities in the Public Sector” will be set up as a division of the intelligence agency.

The office will also establish a stronger exchange of information with foreign governments on right-wing extremist terrorism.

The plans materialized after incidents in New Zealand and the US, in which assassins attacked mosques, synagogues and migrants, killing numerous people. 

The mosque attacker in New Zealand's Christchurch had contacts with Europe's “Identitarian Movement”, of which there is also a strong presence in Germany.

In its current annual report, German intelligence counts 24,100 right-wing extremists in Germany, more than half of whom, according to the authority, are “oriented towards violence”. 

READ ALSO: 12,700 violent far-right extremists in Germany, government claims

Two weeks ago Interior Minister Seehofer said that right-wing extremism in Germany poses just as great a danger for security agencies as Islamic terrorism, and announced additional jobs and restructuring.

Vocabulary

Right-wing scene – die rechtsextreme Szene

Crackdown/combat – (die) Bekämpfung 

Upgraded – aufgerüstet

Attacks – (die) Anschläge

Restructuring – (die) Umstrukturierung

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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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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