The defeat of Islamic State militants in their Iraqi stronghold Mosul may spark terrorist attacks across Europe, the head of the German Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, has said.
Speaking to German media outlet Deutschlandfunk, Maassen acknowledged that the jihadists “possibly stand with their backs to the wall” and can “effectively face defeat” in the Iraqi city, adding that the BfV is “closely watching the situation in Mosul.”
The Iraqi Army and allied militias backed by the US-led coalition launched an operation to retake the country’s second-largest city on October 17.
“That is good. But this can lead to the consequence that this situation may alert its [IS] supporters in Europe, that it can lead to violent attacks,” the BfV chief warned.
He added though that security services in Germany are preparing for such an event. “This is what we want to prevent and we also adjust ourselves accordingly, so that it can be avoided.” Maassen did not name any imminent threat facing Germany.
Yet according to the intelligence chief, the BfV should prepare itself for “different scenarios,” including cases when “well trained fighters [who could] simultaneously stage suicide attacks or terrorist acts with Kalashnikov assault rifles.” This was the case during IS-inspired terrorist assaults in Paris in November 2015 as well as suicide bombings in Brussels airport and metro station in March this year.
“And then we have the case of a lone wolf who is not really a lone wolf because, as we have now encountered in a number of cases, these people are being radicalized and led via instant messenger service, via the internet,” Maassen said.
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