German police warn of 'security deficits' after attack tip
The head of Germany's police union warned on Thursday there were "security deficits" in the country, after the government said it had learned an attack was being planned for the end of the month.
Konrad Freiberg said Germany was underprepared for a terrorist attack. "We have missed a few steps along the way and there are security deficits that we have drawn attention to," he told the Hamburger Abendblatt daily.
Describing the situation as "serious", Freiberg said: "We need to do everything possible to protect the public from danger."
On Wednesday, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere ordered security beefed up across the country, after receiving a tip-off that an attack was being planned in Germany for the end of November.
"There is reason for concern, but no reason for hysteria," said the minister at a hastily convened press conference.
He said the security situation was similar to that before Germany's last general election in 2009, but the interior minister of the city-state of Berlin said the position was worse.
There is "a clearly more tense situation" than before the election, said Ehrhart Koerting.
The chief of the federal police, Matthias Seeger, said: "We assume that the current security level is a step higher than it was before the election," adding there was "no reason for panic."
Meanwhile, the interior minister of the southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Karl Peter Bruch, said there were "concrete indications" of attacks being planned in major cities Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.
Germany, which opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq but has nearly 5,000 troops in Afghanistan under NATO command, has never experienced an attack by Islamist extremists on its own soil.
But authorities say the Islamist scene is large and dangerous.
The closest it has come to an attack was in July 2006 when Islamic militants placed suitcases with homemade bombs on two regional trains at Cologne's main station. They failed to detonate, averting an almost certain bloodbath.
© 2010 AFP