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Germany Vows More Checks After Attacks 07/26 06:19

   BERLIN (AP) -- Top security officials in Germany called Tuesday for tougher 
security screening of asylum-seekers and also announced that more police 
officers will be hired following four attacks in the country in the span of a 
week --- two of them claimed by the extremist Islamic State group.

   Horst Seehofer, the governor of Bavaria --- where three of last week's 
attacks took place --- told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung Tuesday: "We must 
know who is in our country."

   Thomas Strobl, the interior minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where a woman 
was killed by a Syrian attacker Sunday, also demanded a tougher stance toward 
asylum-seekers.

   "Those who abuse the right to hospitality must go back to their home 
countries --- make no mistake about it," Strobl told Funke media group.

   Three of the attacks were carried out by recent immigrants, rekindling 
concerns about Germany's ability to cope with the estimated 1 million migrants 
registered entering the country last year.

   Seehofer also announced that the state of Bavaria would hire more police 
officers.

   "The increase will be significant," he said.

   In the most recent attack, a 27-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker set off a 
backpack laden with explosives and shrapnel Sunday night after being refused 
entry to a crowded music festival in the Bavarian city of Ansbach, killing 
himself and wounding 15 people.

   The extremist Islamic State group published a video early Tuesday in which a 
man pledges allegiance to IS and vows Germany's people "won't be able to sleep 
peacefully anymore." It appears to be the same as the one found by German 
investigators on the suicide bomber's phone.

   The man, believed to be the bombing suspect, whose name authorities have 
confirmed as Mohammad Daleel, appears on the video with his face covered with a 
black scarf, threatens to make life intolerable and that "we will blow up your 
homes." German authorities could not immediately be reached to confirm whether 
the video was the same.

   On the video the attacker said he acted in response to the extremist group's 
call to target countries of the U.S.-led coalition fighting it in Iraq and 
Syria. Germany is not involved in combat operations but has contributed 
reconnaissance aircraft to the effort.

   He threatened that the group would carry out more violence after the bombing 
in Ansbach, saying "this blessed operation will be followed by others."

   After the IS connection surfaced, federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe, who 
investigate all suspected terrorism, took over the case saying they would seek 
to "determine if thus-far unknown accomplices or backers were involved in the 
crime."

   A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor's office told The Associated Press 
that "a main focus is on the question of whether the attacker in Ansbach was 
helped in the planning and preparation." She spoke on condition of anonymity in 
line with department policy.

   Investigators also need to determine how the video from the attacker got to 
IS and where he learned to build a bomb.

   The suspect, who is originally from the Syrian city of Aleppo, came to 
Germany two years ago and applied for asylum in August 2014, Interior Minister 
Thomas de Maiziere said. It turned out that he had already registered in 
Bulgaria and later in Austria, so Germany rejected his request and ordered him 
deported to Bulgaria --- most recently on July 13.

   Asylum-seekers are routinely deported to the first country where they 
registered if they don't follow proper procedures, even if they're considered 
to have a legitimate asylum claim.


(KA)

 
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