Merkel attempts to allay terrorist fears with security boost

Chancellor Angela Merkel moved Thursday to allay fears in Germany about the threat of terrorism by setting out plans to beef up security and joining members of her party in expressing concerns about the wearing of the burqa in the nation.

"We are do everything humanly possible to ensure public safety," Merkel said in a video interview distributed by her conservative Christian Democratic party (CDU).

She went on to say "wherever there are gaps, we have to make adjustments and to consider new forms of security measures.

"We need more police officers...but we also need more people in the security and intelligence services as well as the criminal police," Merkel told a campaign rally in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which goes to the polls next month.

Germany had been badly shaken by a series of violent incidents in the nation including two Islamic State-inspired terrorist attacks last month.

State interior ministers from Merkel's CDU party and Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere are meeting this week to draw up proposals for banning the wearing of the burqa in public, along the lines of action taken by France and Belgium.

Results from the meeting are due on Friday.

"From my perspective, women wearing the full veil in Germany have little chance to integrate," Merkel told the German media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND).

However, she left open the extent to which the burqa could be banned saying de Maiziere was considering what political and legal steps could be taken concerning wearing the full veil. De Maiziere has already ruled out a general ban.

Fears have also grown in Germany that potential terrorists could be among the about one million refugees who have entered Germany over the last year.

However, Merkel also insisted at another campaign event in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on Wednesday evening that the threat posed by Islamic State-backed terrorism had existed before the arrival of the wave of refugees.

"Terrorism by Islamic State is not a phenomenon that arrived with the refugees, it is one that was there before," Merkel said.

Last update: Thu, 18/08/2016 - 20:29

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