Germany expects return of over 100 children of Daesh fighters from Syria, Iraq

Opposition fighters prepare ammunition in the al-Mushrifa area, near the town of Khan Sheikun in Syria's northwestern rebel-held province of Idlib, during ongoing clashes with government forces, in this January 2, 2018 photo. (AFP)
Updated 08 January 2018
0

Germany expects return of over 100 children of Daesh fighters from Syria, Iraq

BERLIN: German security officials are preparing for the arrival of over 100 infants and children of people who left the country to fight for Daesh in Iraq and Syria, amid concerns about the radicalization of minors.
Nearly 1,000 people are believed to have left Germany to join up with the militants. As the group’s presence in the Middle East crumbles, some are returning with family members, while German authorities are trying to secure the release of children whose parents have been detained.
In a document addressed to a lawmaker and seen by Reuters on Monday, Interior Ministry State Secretary Emily Haber said it was difficult to estimate the exact number of children set to arrive since it was unclear how many babies were born while their parents were in Iraq or Syria.
But security officials had information indicating that “a low three-digit number of minors is expected,” with the majority believed to be babies or toddlers, Haber said in a reply to a formal parliamentary query by Greens lawmaker Irene Mihalic.
Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV domestic intelligence agency, had warned in October that children of returning militants could pose a threat after being “socialized and indoctrinated in the battlefield areas.”
The radicalization of children has been in the spotlight given that three of five terror attacks in Germany in 2016 were carried out by minors, and a 12-year-old boy was also detained after trying to bomb a Christmas market in Ludwigshafen.
The German government said it has evidence that more than 960 people left Germany for Iraq and Syria through November 2017 to fight for Daesh, of which about a third are believed to have returned to Germany. Another 150 likely died in combat, according to government data.
State Secretary Haber said there was no evidence of a big increase in the return of people from Iraq and Syria in recent months despite military setbacks for Daesh.
The German Foreign Ministry was providing consular services to German citizens and their children who had been detained or imprisoned in Iraq, and was seeking the return of children that were now imprisoned with their parents in Iraq, Haber said.
“No timeline can be given for the return of these children since this is largely dependent on the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities,” she wrote.
Given Germany’s decentralized federal structure, state officials had the main responsibility for deradicalization of those who returned from Iraq and Syria, including those were convicted and incarcerated, Haber said.
But she said the federal government was supporting those efforts through a number of initiatives, including support for families of those who left Germany to fight for Daesh.
New federally funded programs were planned in 2018 to educate and deradicalize returning foreign fighters, and the federal government was also funding programs in each of the 16 states to prevent further radicalization in prison, Haber said.


German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

Updated 48 min 17 sec ago
0

German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

  • The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany
  • Frankfurt court ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, it was “factually impossible” to transport the passenger

FRANKFURT: A German appeals court on Tuesday ruled that it could not prevent Kuwait Airways from banning Israeli passengers, even though it believed the policy amounted to discrimination.
The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany, who in 2016 bought a ticket online to travel from Frankfurt to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
The state-owned airline canceled the ticket soon after saying Kuwaiti law prohibits all commercial relations with Israelis and Israeli companies.
The higher regional court in Frankfurt ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, which is under Kuwaiti jurisdiction, it was “factually impossible” for the airline to transport the passenger.
The finding was similar to a ruling reached by a lower German court last year.
In a statement, the court acknowledged that the outcome was “unsatisfying” for the plaintiff but said it had no choice but to dismiss his demand to be able to book a new journey to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
A request for financial compensation was also denied.
The judges nevertheless slammed Kuwait’s Israel boycott as discriminatory and “incompatible with German values,” but said changing it was a matter for politicians.
The non-profit Lawfare project, which is representing the Israeli passenger, said it was considering a further appeal.
“This is a tragic day for German law,” said Lawfare’s executive director Brooke Goldstein.
“Rather than be held accountable before the law, the court has rewarded Kuwait Airways for its anti-Semitism.”
In 2015, Kuwait Airways opted to scrap all its flights between New York’s JFK airport and London Heathrow after US authorities threatened legal action over its refusal to sell tickets to Israelis.