German military wants security checks on recruits, newspaper says

August 27, 2016 12:51 PM EDT

German Bundeswehr army soldiers with the 3rd company of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) patrol during a mission in Chahar Dara district on the outskirts of Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, May 12, 2010. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch


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BERLIN (Reuters) - There are signs that Islamists are trying to join the German armed forces to get military training, and there is a risk they might use that training to carry out attacks in Germany or abroad, a German newspaper cited a draft document as saying.

Consequently, the armed forces want applicants to undergo a security check by the military counter-intelligence agency, starting in July 2017, so they can swiftly spot extremists, terrorists and criminals, Welt am Sonntag newspaper said in an article due to be published on Sunday.

Such security screening would require changes in the laws governing the military. A draft document justifying such changes, seen by Welt am Sonntag, said there are indications that Islamists are trying to get "so-called short-term servicemen into the armed forces" for training.

Germany is on edge after a series of violent attacks in July, two of which were claimed by Islamic State, and the interior minister has already announced plans to step up security.

The cabinet is set to approve a change to the military act next week, the newspaper said, citing security sources. A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said the government was in the process of deciding on the law.

The military counter-intelligence agency is looking into 64 suspected Islamists, 268 suspected right-wing extremists and six suspected left-wing extremists in the armed forces, the newspaper said.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin and Thorsten Severin, editing by Larry King)



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