Merkel: Islamic terror is our most difficult test

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a New Year’s Eve address to the nation Saturday in which she said Islamic terrorism was the “most difficult test” the nation faced. From Deutsche Welle:

In her New Year’s speech, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the past 12 months “tested us in many ways.” Among those, Islamic terrorism was “without a doubt” the “most difficult test.”…

It is “a bitter reckoning – and a despicable one,” said the chancellor, when terror attacks are committed by people “who came here ostensibly to seek safe haven and then received help and support.” These acts “make a mockery” of the German willingness to help, and also those people “who truly need and deserve our protection.”

Merkel is under pressure after three ISIS-related terror attacks in Germany over the past year. Most recently a man seeking refugee status drove a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin killing twelve people and injuring dozens more. Tunisian Anis Amri had been under surveillance for most of the year and was scheduled to be deported months before the attack.

In July a suicide bomber attempted to bring his bomb into a crowded outdoor concert but was refused entry. He blew himself up outside the venue injuring 15 people. The bomber’s application for refugee status had been denied and he had already received two notices of deportation when the bomb went off. However the bomber was not deported because he was originally from Syria and Germany refuses to send anyone back there because of the ongoing civil war.

Also in July a 17-year-old refugee wielding an ax attacked passengers on a train in Würzburg, Germany. A hand-painted ISIS flag was later found in the man’s apartment.

Despite all of this Merkel says her decision to welcome over a million refugees last year was the right one. From the Independent:

She emphasised, though, that her decision to allow refugees in was the right decision, stressing “how important and right it was for [the] country to help those who really need our protection find their feet here and integrate”.

“We are stronger together. Our state is stronger. Our state is doing everything to guarantee its citizens security in freedom,” she said, before pledging that in 2017 the government will take action quickly “where political or legal changes are necessary”.

Other sites are offering a slightly different translation of that passage so it’s not clear if Merkel was intentionally echoing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign theme. Merkel will be running for her 4th term as Chancellor in 2017. The election will take place in September.