The German military has uncovered dozens of soldiers with Muslim leanings that joined the army to receive rigorous training in weapons systems and tactics in hopes of using it for future terror attacks, both at home and abroad, local media report.
Germany’s Military Counterintelligence Service, MAD, has identified 20 active-duty soldiers as Islamists, and 60 others were put on a surveillance list for having extremist views, Die Welt reported on Saturday.
The agency said the Islamist infiltrators are particularly interested in advanced weapons and tactical training that could be useful when carrying out future attacks in Germany or abroad.
Recruitment offices across the country have reported “individual inquiries from applicants who are eager to join the Bundeswehr [the German military] for only a few months and are explicitly interested in intensive weapons and equipment training,” MAD noted.
During ‘Grundausbildung,’ Germany’s army boot camp training, recruits are taught shooting and marksmanship skills, map reading and topography, and the fundamentals of woodland and urban warfare, as well as how to give emergency aid.
While MAD did not elaborate on the situation, the figures highlight that this is now an issue, as Islamist groups are infiltrating one of Europe’s most capable militaries.
Hans-Peter Bartels, a Social Democratic Party (SPD) MP responsible for oversight of the army, said in April that, while “Islamism isn’t the main problem of the Bundeswehr… it represents a real danger that we have to take seriously.”
Plans to conduct comprehensive background checks on all applicants were announced in late August. Currently, only service members that have already enlisted, including soldiers, officers, and non-commissioned officers, are vetted.
The new screening process will begin from January of 2017, the Defense Ministry said.
“Currently, there are indications that Islamist circles are trying to insert the so-called short-time servicemen into the armed forces so that they can receive such training,” the draft law accessed by DPA news agency says, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The proposal highlights the German government’s efforts to prevent so-called ‘green-on-blue attacks,’ otherwise known as insider attacks.
As of now, recruits only need to present their police records and formally agree to comply with the German constitution to enlist.