Germany could be a target of an Islamist attack similar to those carried out by a gunman in France two months ago, the head of the country's intelligence service said on Tuesday.
German Intelligence Chief Heinz Fromm's comments, quoted in an interview with the top-selling Bild daily, follow a series of clashes in several German cities and towns between police and ultra-conservative Salafist Muslims.
"The danger for Germany has unfortunately not decreased. And it is not by any means abstract. An attack like in France in March... is also conceivable here," Fromm told Bild, adding that Merah had had contact with Salafists before his shooting spree.
Gunman Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, killed seven people - three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi - before being shot dead by elite French police commandos in Toulouse on March 22. He had said al-Qaeda inspired him to kill.
Incitement targets youngsters
Fromm cited a video made by a Berlin-based Salafist, a former rapper known as Denis C., which calls for "holy war" and praises Merah and the late Osama bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda.
"We must take (this video) seriously. It could well be that this video is taken as an inducement for attacks," he said.
"With their intensive propaganda over the Internet, in the streets, in mosques and also at so-called Islam seminars, Salafist preachers are reaching especially young people who are more sensitive to this ideology," said Fromm.
"Almost all Islamist terrorists from Germany have been radicalized in this way," said Fromm, who heads Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
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