A HUGE STASH OF WEAPONS REPORTEDLY BELONGING TO ISLAMIST EXTREMISTS HAVE BEEN FOUND HIDDEN NEAR A MOSQUE IN GERMANY.
The weapons arsenal was discovered during a top secret raid by a SWAT team in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Local politician Ismail Tipi revealed details of the raid and warned of “the danger of fundamentalists”.
The weapons were found in a cold room of a greengrocer near a mosque.
The state is the most populous state in Germany with nearly 18million people in the area, which includes Dusseldorf.
Mr Tipi, who is a member of the Hessian parliament, warned of the dangers of Salafi fundamentalists.
Germany has seen sharp increases in the number of ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists in recent years, with the total number of sympathisers now seen at 8,900, up from 7,000 at the end of 2014, German officials said.
He said: “According to my information, a weapons arsenal with war grade weapons was found in this search.
“The danger of fundamentalist Salafists who are ready to use violence arming themselves in Germany is very large. This secret raid finding this weapons cache makes this more than clear.”
Mr Tipi, who is said to have received death threats for his comments against jihadis, raised concerns sleeper cells are gearing up for a terror attack on Germany.
He said: “The information about this is increasing. The fear is large that Salafist sleeper cells, jihadis, and ISIS terrorists in Germany get support from foreign intelligence services that are not friendly to us.
“Through the weapons arsenal, the sleeper cells and militant jihadis can be armed with weapons and prepare for their likely attack. This is exactly what I have always feared.”
He added: “Politicians must speak clearly about this.
“If these fears are substantiated, we can assume that secret weapons arsenals are being set up for a big terrorist attack not only in Germany, but throughout Europe. It would be a dereliction of duty if we didn’t recognise this danger and find these weapons arsenals.
“We must see this danger and deal with it as soon as possible. Those in charge of our security must look at this closely and share this information with all relevant security agencies.
“Politicians must be clear about this, report on possible dangers and threats, educate the people and call upon them to be wide awake and report every type of observations to the police. The problem of Salafism and IS-terrorism is always getting bigger when we don’t react. Here everyone has a responsibility.”
The discovery comes as the German government voiced concern that Islamic State (ISIS) could step up attacks in Europe as it loses territory in Iraq and Syria, and said its domestic intelligence agency is training to respond to a large-scale assault.
Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere welcomed gains made by a US-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but said they were not diminishing the risk of attacks in Europe.
He said: “On the contrary, we fear that Islamic State will externalise, transfer its activities to Europe, especially because of military losses in the region.”
Germany has been on high alert for possible large-scale militant incidents – potentially including military-style weapons – since the Paris attacks last November and Brussels in March.
Security chief Hans-George Maassen said the BfV domestic intelligence agency had thwarted a number of attacks and has carried out exercises to prepare for terrorism.
Three Syrian men were earlier this month suspected of planning large-scale attacks in Dusseldorf.
Mr Maaseen said the agency was also vigilant for potential lone-wolf attacks, self-radicalised individuals, and possible militants smuggled in under the cover of over one million refugees that have entered Germany over the past year.
HE SAID AUTHORITIES HAD IDENTIFIED CLEAR EVIDENCE AGAINST 17 INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD ENTERED GERMANY DISGUISED AS REFUGEES, AND MOST WERE EITHER DEAD OR HAD BEEN ARRESTED.
HE SAID: ”WE MUST KEEP A PARTICULARLY CLOSE EYE ON THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE.”