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Germany to intensify fight against terror

 A draft legislation that will restrict jihadists from travelling abroad to join militant operations and clampdown on terror funding has been passed by the Cabinet in Germany, in a bid to intensify the fight against Islamic State and other such groups.



Berlin: A draft legislation that will restrict jihadists from travelling abroad to join militant operations and clampdown on terror funding has been passed by the Cabinet in Germany, in a bid to intensify the fight against Islamic State and other such groups.

Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a Social Democrat, drafted the bill in line with a UN resolution from last September on foreign fighters, people who are recruited in foreign countries to fight elsewhere.

Maas said Germany would soon have "one of the strictest anti-terror laws in all of Europe."

The German Cabinet has cleared the bill to further restrict travel of potentially dangerous jihadists.

The draft legislation, which will now head to the Bundestag, the constitutional and legislative body in Germany, seeks to prevent the export of jihadists to the Middle East.

The new bill will also make fund-raising for terrorist organisations illegal and enable the authorities to punish those involved in collecting donations for such groups or contributing to them.
These are the latest among a series of steps taken by the government to tighten security in the wake of last month's terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed 17 people.

The cabinet had earlier passed a draft legislation to prevent Islamic militants from travelling to Syria or Iraq to join the IS forces by confiscating their identity cards for three years.

This was necessary because hundreds of suspected jihadists from this country have been travelling to join the IS militants via Turkey using their identity cards.

Confiscating their passports was largely ineffective as they could still enter Turkey using their identity cards and then cross into the areas controlled by IS militants in Iraq and in Syria, according to the authorities.

With these measures, the government is fulfilling the UN Security Council resolution on "foreign fighters" and also responding to the threat to the nation's security posed by jihadists traveling to Syria or Iraq to join the IS militants, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in Berlin yesterday.

Around 600 jihadists from Germany have already joined the IS militants and the government is keen to end this traffic from the country, he told a news conference.

These people will return home with combat experience and more radicalised than before and therefore they posed a danger to public security, he said.

On the basis of the existing laws, around 300 radicalised jihadists in Germany have been punished so far for various crimes and prosecutors at the federal and state levels are currently investigating the cases of 200 others suspected of violating the rules, Maas said. 

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