German chancellor candidates weigh in on threat to Hagen synagogue

By Alexander Missal, dpa

After the thwarting of a possible attack on the synagogue in the city of Hagen, conservative candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet has spoken out in favour of the deportation of “dangerous” persons.

In addition, as chancellor he wants “bans on anti-constitutional organizations and associations, bans on symbols of hatred and terror, entry and residence bans, expulsions and deportations – as far as possible,” Laschet told the Saturday edition of the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.

The Green Party’s rival candidate for chancellor Annalena Baerbock, told the newspaper that there was “no justification, no acceptance, no excuse for anti-Semitism, whether from the right, from the centre of society or motivated by Islamism.” Top threats would have to be monitored around the clock, she said.

In the Hagen case, a 16-year-old Syrian was remanded in custody following a decision by a magistrate on Friday evening. He is suspected of preparing a serious act of violence endangering the state, according to the Dusseldorf prosecutor general’s office.

The youth, who was arrested on Thursday, is said to have denied plans for an attack during the interrogation. His lawyer, who had expected him to be released, announced that he would request a review of his detention and an inspection of the files.

According to information from security circles, the decisive reason for the arrest of the 16-year-old was a chat with a suspected IS terrorist via the messenger service Telegram. The tip-off is said to have come from a foreign intelligence service.

The conservative chairman of the parliamentary control committee of the Bundestag, Roderich Kiesewetter, praised the cooperation with foreign services.

Politics must ensure that Germany’s intelligence services “can cooperate with partner services on an equal footing,” the Christian Democrat (CDU) politician told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) news network on Saturday.

Terrorism expert Peter Neumann of King’s College in London, who is part of Laschet’s “future team,” told RND: “In the cases of prevented attacks that I know of, 80 to 90 per cent are due to tips from US agencies. Their possibilities for checking digital communications far exceed what Germany is capable of and what is permitted here.”

Herbert Reul, minister of the interior for North Rhine Westphalia, the state in which Hagen is located, spoke of an “Islamist-motivated threat situation” for the Hagen synagogue on the highest Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, an adult perpetrator convicted of preparing a serious act of violence endangering the state faces a prison sentence of six months to 10 years. However, different standards and sanctions apply when juvenile criminal law is applied.

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