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Islamic State militants entered Europe disguised as refugees, says German intelligence agency chief

Staff Reporter
6 February 2016, 9:24am
Islamic State militants have slipped into Europe disguised as refugees, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency (BfV) said on Friday, a day after security forces thwarted a potential IS attack in Berlin.

Hans-Georg Maassen said the terrorist attacks in Paris last November had shown that Islamic State was deliberately planting terrorists among the refugees flowing into Europe. "Then we have repeatedly seen that terrorists ... have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing," Maassen told reporters, adding that the BfV was currently trying to recognize and identify whether still more IS fighters or terrorists slipped into the country.

A German special forces unit arrested two men who are accused of plotting "a significant criminal act against state security," in Berlin, following a raid on Thursday. Police said the two men were arrested in the Britz area of the city after a search was carried out in an Islamic cultural center.

The suspects, whose identities have not been released, are 28 and 46, according to police.German press reports that one of them is Syrian and the other, Tunisian.

Police said nearby residences were evacuated after "a suspected dangerous object" was found in a vehicle linked to the suspects.

Yesterday, German newspaper Berliner Zeitung cited Maassen as saying that the BfV had received more than 100 tip-offs that there were Islamic State fighters among the refugees currently staying in Germany.

German fears about an attack have risen since Islamic State militants carried out several coordinated attacks in Paris last November.