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In Wake Of Attacks, Germany's Interior Minister Proposes Stricter Security Measures

Germany's interior minister has put forth new proposals intended to tighten security following a series of attacks last month, including two committed by asylum-seekers.

Under the proposals announced by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, dual citizens who fight for militant groups abroad could lose their German citizenship and foreigners who commit crimes or are considered dangerous could be fast-tracked for deportation.

"No one can guarantee there will be no more terror attacks" De Maiziere said at a news conference Thursday, Joanna Kakissis reports for NPR. "No one can guarantee absolute security. But we will do everything that we possibly can."

De Maizere also told reporters he wants to meet with doctors on notifying authorities about potentially dangerous patients while also upholding the country's confidentiality laws, the BBC reports. It adds that:

"Germany is also likely to introduce more video surveillance in urban areas, a special police cyber defence unit and powers to investigate suspects as young as 14.

"There will be a big push to intercept terror networks that use the 'darknet' to plan attacks or obtain weapons, the minister said. It is an area of cyberspace invisible to ordinary internet users."

The proposals come after several deadly attacks in Germany last month. In the deadliest incident, an 18-year-old German-Iranian national opened fire at a Munich shopping mall and killed nine people before killing himself. Authorities have yet to determine a motive but said the gunman was obsessed with mass shootings.

In an attack in Wurzburg, north of Munich, a 17-year-old Afghan refugee wounded several people on a train with an ax and knife. And a 27-year-old Syrian refugee under a deportation order blew himself up near a music festival in Ansbach, wounding 15 people.

The attacks, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, have reignited criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy on refugees. As Kakissis reports for our Newscast Unit:

"Merkel's popularity has nose-dived in public opinion polls.

"And Interior Minister Thomas De Maziere acknowledged that many Germans are worried that refugees could be violent.

"But he insists that Germany remains a safe country."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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