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Germany warns of 'real' risk of Islamist attacks over Israel-Hamas war

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Germany warns of 'real' risk of Islamist attacks over Israel-Hamas war
Germany's security chief Thomas Haldenwang. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

Germany's domestic intelligence chief on Wednesday warned that the risk of Islamist attacks is "real and higher than it has been for a long time" because of the Israel-Hamas war.

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"We see calls in jihadist spectrums for attacks and for Al-Qaeda and IS to tag on to the Middle East conflict," said Thomas Haldenwang in a statement.

A flood of images online related to the war triggered by Hamas's October 7th attack on Israel, paired with fake news, could act as catalysts for
radicalisation, he said.

Palestinians or Muslims were being portrayed as "victims of the West" in some of these social media posts, which sometimes also carry anti-Semitic content.

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"The situation is exacerbated by foreign state actors, which are exploiting or seeking to boost this mood," warned Haldenwang, the president of Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Haldenwang did not cite examples of the state actors, but added that the different extremist groups' common view of Israel as an enemy was generating "new connections and could lead to strong cooperation in certain cases," he warned.

German authorities had already announced they were ramping up security for Jews and Jewish institutions in the wake of the October 7th attack on Israel.

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The government was also working to prevent any attacks at large events, said Haldenwang in the rare statement.

Germany issued a ban on Hamas activities and organisations linked to the group earlier this month, in the wake of the militants' attack on Israel that Israeli officials say killed 1,200 people.

In retaliation, Israel announced it would destroy Hamas and began a relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip before a ground offensive there.

Gaza's Hamas government says the death toll in the Palestinian territory had reached nearly 15,000 before a truce began, with the militants freeing Israeli hostages in return for Palestinian prisoners.

READ ALSO: What is Germany's Staatrasön and why is it being talked about so much right now?

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