8/28/16, "German army wants security checks for recruits after admitting more than 60 [ISIS] Isil suspects in its ranks," UK Telegraph, James Rothwell
"The German army has said it wants tougher security checks on recruits after admitting that more than 60 Islamists are suspected of infiltrating its ranks.
In a draft amendment seen by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, senior Bundeswehr officials said all applicants should be screened by the intelligence services for jihadist links before they begin basic training.
And they disclosed that 64 Islamists are already feared to have embedded themselves within the armed forces, along with 268 right-wing extremists and six left-wing extremists.
Terrorists are attracted to the army because they can use the training to plot future terror attacks in Germany, the document added.
“The German army trains all of its members in the handling and usage of weapons of war,” it said, “[terrorists] could use those skills acquired in the army to carry out well-prepared acts of violence at home or abroad.”
The proposals would lead to a major overhaul of the country’s recruiting policy as under the current system soldiers are only checked for Islamist ties once they have enlisted.
They would also require an extra 90 military officials to be hired in order to carry out a further 20,000 checks per year.
The reforms, which would cost an estimated 8.2 million euros (£6.9m) per year, are expected to be approved by German commanders next week, Welt am Sonntag reported.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said the government was still in the process of debating the law, which if approved would come into force in July 2017.
Germany is on high alert following a spate of deadly attacks last July, two of which were claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
On July 18 an Afghan refugee attacked passengers with an axe on a regional train in southern Germany, injuring four people before he was shot by police.
Officials said they found an Isil [ISIS] flag in the 17-year-old’s room and it later emerged that he had pledged allegiance to the group in a video posted online.
A week later, on July 25th, a Syrian refugee blew himself up in the southern town of Ansbach, killing himself in the blast and wounding 12 others.
When police raided his flat they found violent videos, bomb making materials and a message on his mobile phone in which he said he carried out the attack on behalf of Isil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Thomas de Maziere, the German Interior Minister, has already called for tougher security measures which would include a ban on the burka and legal reforms that would make it easier to deport terror suspects.
He is also in favour of a Europe-wide proposal to force the developers of encrypted messaging services such as Telegram to hand over data to the security services.
Telegram has attracted controversy in the past for being popular among Isil fighters, who use the network to trade weapons and plot attacks while remaining anonymous."
"Additional reporting by Reuters"