Germany considers controversial proposals in fight against terrorism

German security officials have put forward a controversial counter-terrorism plan that includes measures such as banning full-face coverings for Muslim women and allowing intelligence agents to investigate children as young as 14.

The plan, seen by dpa on Wednesday, comprises 27 measures that also include increased video surveillance in public places, the recruitment of an additional 15,000 police officers and a ban on the sale of weapons to extremist suspects.

It was compiled by interior ministers at the state level, all of whom belong to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative political bloc, which is made up of her Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU).

Speaking at a meeting with federal police officers in Bremen on Wednesday, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere - a member of Merkel's Christian Democrats - said that the plans were still being debated and that he did not agree with all of the proposed measures.

Germany has been on high alert since four violent attacks in the space of one week last month - two of them claimed by Islamic State - left 12 people dead, three of them attackers.

Also on Wednesday, a German doctor's association expressed alarm about reported government plans to loosen patient confidentiality rules to make it easier for doctors to report planned crimes to authorities.

"The tense national security situation must not lead to hasty political and legislative measures," said Frank Ulrich Montgomery, head of the BaeK Bundesaerztekammer.

"Patient confidentiality serves to protect patients' right to privacy and is (enshrined in) the constitution," he said in response to a Bild newspaper report.

The Interior Ministry has declined to comment on the measure.

Last update: Wed, 10/08/2016 - 15:20
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