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Islamist terror is biggest threat to Germany: Merkel

31 December 2016

Islamist terrorism is the biggest challenge Germany is currently facing, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her New Year message.

Referring to the deadly truck attack on 19 December targeting a Christmas market in Berlin by a Tunisian asylum seeker that resulted in the deaths of 12 people, she said on Friday it was "sickening" when acts of terror were carried out by people who had sought protection, the BBC reported.

"As we go about our lives and our work, we are saying to the terrorists: 'You are hate-filled murderers, but you do not determine how we live and want to live. We are free, considerate and open'," Merkel said.

But she also said she was confident Germany could overcome them.

In her message, the Chancellor said images of the devastation in the city of Aleppo, where Syrian government forces have forced out rebels after months of fighting, showed how "important and right" it was for Germany to take in those fleeing the conflict.

"All this is reflected in our democracy, rule of law and values. They are the opposite of the hate-filled world of terrorism and will prove stronger than it. Together we are stronger. Our state is stronger," she said.

Merkel also denounced "distortions" that were leading people to believe that the European Union and even parliamentary democracy were no longer working.

"But no - we Germans should never be deceived into thinking that a happy future could ever lie in going it alone nationally," she added.

Merkel is seeking a fourth term as chancellor in an election expected in September 2017 and has already said that she expects her toughest campaign yet.

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