A new report published by the German secret service (Military Counterintelligence Service, MAD) states that 29 former German soldiers have either directly defected to ISIS or joined Islamic State ranks after ending military service in the German Army. Furthermore, some 65 active German soldiers are currently under investigation for sympathies with terrorist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.
In total, the German police estimates that between 720 and 760 residents have left the country to join jihadist militias in Syria and Iraq over the past 5 years. In a similar case, a former Dutch soldier named Israfil Yilmaz joined jihadist ranks in Syria and was very public about his decision, even calling for fellow Islamist Europeans to join the caliphate.
A picture of him can be viewed below: Since 2007, only 17 German soldiers have been fired due to suspected sympathies with terrorist organizations despite some 320 military cases on the matter. Social Democratic Party (SPD) MP Hans-Peter Bartels, who is responsible for oversight of the army, said on Tuesday that “Islamism isn’t the main problem of the Bundeswehr (German Army), however, he did mention that “it represents a real danger that we have to take seriously.”
Alarmed by the revelations, the German Defense Ministry now wants MAD to take greater steps to ensure that jihadists are not infiltrating the German Army, including background checks and investigating links to militant groups deemed terrorist by NATO.
“Just like other fighting forces, the Bundeswehr can be attractive for Islamists who want to acquire weapons training,” Bartels said. “But to my knowledge there is so far no systematic push by Islamist organizations to infiltrate the army.” This report comes as ISIS has conducted bloody terrorist attacks in both Paris and Bruxelles recently.