RALF KASSNER is a former special forces member and mission leader of the German anti-terrorist groups GSG9 and SEK. He has instructed and trained with most of the European special teams, to include the GIGN, SAS, Le Raid, GOE, as well as Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, HRT, and more. He is now the CEO of Wodan Security.

SOFREP: The attacks in Paris have acted as a warning sign. What is the situation in Germany?

Ralf Kassner: I received the news while I was overseas and I was as shocked as most people, but not surprised. The threat of new attacks has been reported often enough. First, though, I would like to extend our condolences to the victims and wish a speedy recovery for the injured. The professional reaction of the French security forces and the many helpers also deserves our recognition and praise. As it stands for Germany? It is hard to say. Highly paid security specialists are already arguing over that. One thing is certain; there is a clear and present threat to our country. The question is, in my opinion, when, not if, an attack will occur.

France, Belgium, England, Spain, and Denmark are not far away. In addition, we have the uncontrolled influx of thousands of refugees. When you consider that it took me two hours to get through the passport check at Madrid Airport, while in Germany there are people are walking along the motorways and jumping from trains with impunity, you begin to realize there is reason for concern and the discrepancy is incomprehensible. That does not mean that we should reject taking in those in need, however it is not just dentists and scientists who are coming and we should therefore at least check and register everyone.

Likely terrorist targets in the coming months are Christmas markets and parties, as well as carnival processions—all scenarios that would produce the effects the terrorists want, and all difficult to protect.

Other symbolic targets could be large shopping malls such as Kadewe, the financial district in Frankfurt, the chemical industry on the Rhine and Ruhr, and of course, concerts or other large events.

SOFREP: The uncomfortable question that probably everyone has is, is Germany prepared? And what are German units doing to prevent such a catastrophe?

Ralf: As prepared as anyone can be with limited intelligence. If it is not possible to neutralize the threat in advance, then there only remains reacting, not acting. That is always a disadvantage. If you view footage of the attacks, the majority of people cannot distinguish the explosions at the stadium from fireworks. The concertgoers also thought that the sound of gunfire was part of the show and not an attack. Even for the security forces, it is very difficult to rapidly identify the terrorists. For example, consider the attacks on the beach in Tunisia.