Hans-Georg Maaßen (shown), the president of Germany’s domestic security agency (known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution — BfV) told ZDF, the German public broadcaster, on February 5 that his agency has received more than 100 warnings that Islamic State (ISIS) militants have entered his nation among refugees. Maaßen said:
We have repeatedly seen that terrorists … have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing.
We are trying to recognize and identify whether there are still more IS fighters or terrorists from IS that have slipped in.
While noting the need for caution, Maaßen also sought to assure Germans that the government was doing everything possible to head off the terrorist threat:
We are in a serious situation and there is a high risk that there could be an attack. But the security agencies, the intelligence services and the police authorities are very alert and our goal is to minimize the risk as best we can.
Maaßen said there was “concrete evidence there are people planning terror attacks in Germany,” but there’s “no indication of an imminent attack.”
The Atlantic reported that Maaßen’s statement came a day after police in Berlin arrested three Algerians with suspected ties to ISIS who, they say, were planning a terrorist attack on the German capital. Among those arrested was a man held at a refugee shelter in Attendorn, Germany, who was the alleged head of the terrorist cell. German authorities said he entered the European Union posing as a refugee.