Recent incidents point to a country struggling to come to grips with a new Islamist reality on the ground.
- A 19-year-old operative from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has been charged in a terrorism case. German prosecutors say Shaas al-M. (who cannot be identified further due to his age) joined the Islamic State at age 16 while he was still in Syria.
After undergoing military training and working for the organization as a guard, prosecutors say he offered to come to Germany to carry out an attack and facilitate other members of the terror group to carry out an attack.
Shaas al-M. left for Germany in mid-2015. He had allegedly already scouted out sites in Berlin for an attack when arrested. He was formally charged last week with membership in a terrorist organization and breaking arms control laws.
- The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a brutal attack on a teenage couple that left a 16-year-old boy dead on October 16. The couple was sitting under the Kennedy Bridge in the port city of Hamburg when an attacker suddenly came upon the couple from behind, pushing the girl, aged 15, into the water and stabbing the boy.
The girl was able to escape and alert the authorities, but the boy, identified only as Victor, later died of multiple wounds in a clinic.
The attacker is identified only as a man of “southern” appearance between the ages of 21 and 25 and remains at large.
In a news release, Amaq, a news agency affiliated with ISIS, reported the terror organization said, “A soldier of ISIS stabbed two individuals in Hamburg city on the 16th of this month. He carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries.”
- Elsewhere in Germany, children screaming “Allah Akhbar (God is great)” stoned a visiting priest from Ethiopia on his way to a chapel in a suburb of Frankfurt. The children were said to be between the ages of 10 and 12. The priest, wearing a robe and a visible cross, was highly recognizable when he was pelted with the stones.
- In Freiburg, two women, 21 and 29, were sexually assaulted by a mob of young African immigrants in a church square who groped their chests, genitals and other body parts. A passerby who attempted to help them was also attacked.
The women managed to escape the mob and call the police who were able to quickly arrive at the scene. Three of the attackers were subsequently arrested – all Gambian asylum seekers men between the ages of 17 and 20 who arrived in Germany between November 2015 and February 2016. They have all since been released on bail and two of them have had their asylum applications rejected.
- In Mariendof (south of Belin), a group of seven migrant boys between the ages of 7 and 15 systematically surrounded young girls in a swimming pool and sexually assaulted them. One of the girls, an 11-year old, escaped and was able to tell the lifeguards who called the police.
The boys were initially detained but later released to their parents. They are now banned from the pool. The incident is one of an epidemic of similar groping in swimming pools in Germany, Sweden and elsewhere, usually involving adult men. Police say such attacks have not abated.