Berlin police place protective blocks at Jewish Museum
Berlin police use a crane to hoist concrete blocks into place around the approaches to the city's Jewish Museum in response to an increased threat of terrorist attack emanating from Lebanon.
23rd January 2008
Berlin (dpa) - Police said the blocks, numbering more than 30 and of varying heights, were intended to prevent vehicles from coming close to, or ramming, the museum.
At the museum, which was designed by renowned US architect Daniel Liebeskind and opened to the public in 2001, staff said they were being particularly vigilant.
Over the weekend it was reported that the German security authorities had issued a warning on January 11 to the Jewish community of an increased threat of terrorist attack.
Stefan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of German Jews, said that increased precautions were being taken. The threat was to synagogues and Jewish schools across the country, not just in Berlin, as initially reported, Kramer said.
Kramer referred to information from Lebanon and a possible link to the current trial in Dusseldorf of a Lebanese man, Youssef al-Hajj Dib, 23, on charges of attempting to blow up German trains with suitcase bombs in July 2006.
The weekly Focus newsmagazine reported that four Arab men had been arrested while acting suspiciously near Jewish insitutions in Berlin, although three of them had subsequently been released, while the fourth was being held for unrelated offences.
It also reported details of a possible bomb plot involving a stolen army minibus and a quantity of explosives found by police.
There are estimated to be some 200,000 Jews in Germany, half of whom belong to a synagogue or similar institution. Berlin's Jewish community of around 12,000 is the largest.