German Intelligence: Possible IS Affiliate Members Entered EU from Ukraine

The BfV, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, has warned that jihadists remain a significant threat to the country.

The BfV has warned that jihadists pose a serious threat to Germany’s internal security, particularly highlighting the Afghanistan-based offshoot of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

The group, designated ISPK by German intelligence, “has managed to bring followers to Western Europe, possibly with the wave of refugees from Ukraine, who are now staying here in various Western European countries,” Director General Thomas Haldenwang stated on Tuesday.

Haldenwang and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser presented an annual report on the BfV’s activities over the past year. The incident he referred to occurred in early July 2023, when a series of arrests were conducted in Germany and the Netherlands.

Nine individuals from Central Asia were apprehended at the time for allegedly establishing a “domestic terrorist group” and planning major attacks in Europe. Seven of them resided in Germany.

The group was allegedly in contact with ISPK, also known as ISIS-K, and had entered the European Union from Ukraine “almost simultaneously,” according to German security officials. The suspects were described as “black sheep” among Ukrainians at the time of the arrests.

ISPK has a substantial number of supporters and advocates for “major attacks,” Haldenwang said. He cited the gun and arson massacre at a concert hall outside Moscow in March, which the Afghanistan-based group claimed responsibility for, as an example.

Moscow believes that Ukrainian intelligence services facilitated the Crocus City Hall attack, which resulted in over 145 deaths. ISPK may have simply lent its name to the plot, which could have aided the real mastermind in recruiting the perpetrators, Russian officials have suggested.

The BfV’s report, spanning over 400 pages, covers a wide range of threats, from foreign espionage to domestic extremism and terrorism. The estimated strength of jihadist terrorist organizations is 27,200 individuals.