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‘Terrorist Organizations Using Gaza War as Catalyst to Expand European Influence’

July 9, 2024

by: Ynetnews

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A demonstration against Israel in Frankfurt, Germany

Tuesday, 9 July 2024 | A senior American intelligence official has raised alarms about how the Gaza war is fueling global terrorist recruitment and inspiring individuals, particularly those angered by US support for Israel. Brett Holmgren, assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, shared these concerns in an interview with the Washington Post.

Holmgren noted that this trend is already evident in Europe, referencing recent arrests in Germany and the Netherlands of terrorists planning attacks on Jewish sites. He emphasized that the Hamas attack on October 7 has become a generational event, exploited by terrorist organizations for recruitment.

As Holmgren prepares to take on the role of acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), he oversees the State Department’s intelligence bureau amidst multiple crises, including the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and threats from powers like China and Russia, as well as terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliates.

A report from Germany about two weeks ago highlighted the country’s decision to label the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement as “extremist” due to its activities against Israel. Since the onset of the Gaza war on October 7, there has been a significant spike in anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic violence from both the far right and the far left. German authorities report that Middle Eastern tensions are a major driver of extremism within the country, raising concerns about potential jihadist [fighters in the ‘struggle,” or war with unbelievers (in Islam)] attacks.

In October 2022, there were 208 recorded anti-Semitic incidents, but by October 2023, this number had soared to 1,342, with most incidents stemming from the extreme right and religious backgrounds. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Federal Police Chief Thomas Haldenwang have warned of a significant jihadist threat from 27,000 activists linked to radical terrorist movements.

The main threat to Germany comes from small, dormant cells and “lone wolves,” but the country is also a key target for larger terrorist organizations. “Our democracy is strong, but it is under continuous and significant pressure. We must protect our country from those who seek to destabilize it,” Faeser said during the report’s presentation. “We must tackle both external and internal threats.”

In late May, an investigation by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag revealed that Hamas had plotted attacks on the Israeli embassy in Berlin and a US military base in Rhineland–Palatinate, western Germany. The investigation, titled “The Military Arm of Hamas in Germany,” disclosed that one of the cell members arrested in December last year was involved in locating a Hamas weapons cache hidden in Europe.

The plan was to transfer these weapons to Berlin for potential attacks, based on orders from Hamas’s military leadership in Lebanon. German security officials revealed that the targets were uncovered through information found on the mobile phone of the arrested Hamas member, a Lebanese national. The phone contained maps of the Israeli embassy in Berlin and the US military base.

In December last year, four Hamas activists, all Lebanese nationals, were arrested. The newspaper’s investigation showed that the interactions between the Berlin-based activists and military elements in Lebanon were more extensive than previously thought, with connections traced back to Hamas strongholds in Tyre, southern Lebanon.

That same December, a raid led to the capture of seven suspects planning terrorist attacks against Jewish or Israeli targets. Ynet learned that the planned attack in Denmark was Israeli-targeted. The Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] and Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] jointly thwarted this terror infrastructure.

Denmark reported the arrest of three suspects, the Netherlands detained one in Rotterdam and Germany apprehended three more in Berlin. According to German authorities, the detainees in Berlin and Rotterdam were Hamas activists operating within a joint cell searching for weapons.

Posted on July 9, 2024

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on July 6, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

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