Senior officials in Germany’s army have called for background checks on all new recruits after discovering that dozens of soldiers with links to jihadi groups have enlisted in the country’s armed forces.
More than 60 recruits with Islamist links have already been exposed as Bundeswehr officials hastily proposed a draft amendment calling for new screening process to eliminate potential Islamist recruits as well as right and left-wing extremists, according to the Sunday’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
Military leaders are warning that infiltration means jihadists can quickly acquire both military skills and weapons training that can then be used to carry out attacks either inside Germany or abroad.
Under new fast-tracked proposals, army officials want pre-screening of new recruits ahead of acceptance into the country’s armed forces.
More than 800 Islamists, many of them German citizens, have left the country to join the ranks of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, as the country struggles with a growing radicalization problem.
Of those who have left to go fight alongside ISIS, more than 120 have been killed and over 200 have returned, according to Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.
Additionally, at least 29 ISIS recruits have previously served in the German army, according to an internal military report released in April.
Currently, only soldiers serving with Germany’s armed forces are monitored for signs of radicalization, but new laws call for another 90 officers who will carry out more than 20,000 checks on new recruits at an estimated cost of more than $9 million.
Germany is presently on a high state of alert following a series of deadly attacks last month linked to the Islamic State.