Germany beefs up security amid attack warning

17th November 2010, Comments 2 comments

Machinegun-toting police patrolled German stations and airports Wednesday after the government raised security levels in response to a tip-off of an attack planned this month.

At a hastily called press conference in Berlin, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters: "From today, there will be a visible police presence. I thought it should be explained to citizens."

"There will also be a variety of measures that will not be visible. There is reason for concern, but no reason for hysteria," he added.

"According to information from a foreign partner which came to us after the Yemen incident, we suspect a planned attack is due to be put into action at the end of November," De Maiziere said.

Last month authorities discovered two US-bound parcel bombs originating from Yemen, one of which went through Cologne airport in western Germany.

Citing security sources, the Tagesspiegel daily said the United States had told Berlin that between two and four Al-Qaeda operatives were on their way to Germany and Britain to attempt attacks.

Among the targets Tagesspiegel cited were Germany's popular Christmas markets. The paper added the militants were expected to arrive in Germany on November 22 via India or the United Arab Emirates.

"Since the middle of 2010, the security services have noticed increased indications that the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda has been planning attacks in the United States, in Europe and in Germany," De Maiziere said.

"We now have more details and indications of danger ... It is the unanimous assessment of the security services that we are currently dealing with a new situation."

Announcing heightened security measures "until further notice", De Maiziere said: "These are designed to be preventative and act as a deterrent."

Although the evidence of an increased threat is concrete, "it is not cause and should not be cause for us to change our daily lives totally," added the minister.

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 Muslim 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.

In addition to beefed-up security throughout Germany, there could also be tighter checks on the external borders of the European Schengen visa-free travel zone, De Maiziere said.

Recent investigations by the Federal Crime Office have "confirmed the continued efforts of Islamist groups to carry out planned attacks in Germany," he added.

"There are also concrete indications in this case," he said.

In October, De Maiziere warned against "alarmism" about the threat of terrorist attacks, after the United States, Britain and Japan issued a travel alert for Europe.

This earned him criticism in some quarters for downplaying the threat and being insufficiently tough on terror.

After the terror warning, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular press conference there were no plans to change her schedule.

"We would be making a big mistake as a society if we allowed our free and democratic way of life to be impaired in any way," said Seibert.

"That would be giving the terrorists a cheap victory."

Also on Wednesday, accountancy firm PwC released a report saying German air freight companies expected higher costs as a result of tighter security measures in the wake of recent alarms.


© 2010 AFP

2 Comments To This Article

  • Satish Chandra posted:

    on 18th November 2010, 11:31:57 - Reply

    Behind Terror Threat to Germany:
    I am India's expert in strategic defence and the father of India's strategic program, including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. I have shown in my blog titled 'Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.', which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title, that all terrorism and insurgencies in the Indian subcontinent and in much of the rest of the world is sponsored by the C.I.A. Both Pakistan's ISI and India's RAW function as branches of the C.I.A. and participate in terrorism and insurgencies throughout the Subcontinent, under direction of the C.I.A. Yes, the ISI secretly supports the Taliban but it does so under direction from the C.I.A. whose modus operandi is support for ALL sides of a conflict to control the course of the conflict in service of its own goals. The goal of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and partial occupation of Pakistan is eventual occupation and overt colonial rule over the Subcontinent as a whole. This will not be permitted and all those participating in this enterprise, including the U.K. -- this terror threat to Germany by someone who carried out a terror attack in India is meant to get Germany's participation because of my comment just before it about Indians' inability to resist invasions and occupations -- will be duly punished; see my blog. The document leak recently in the news had been made in preparation for abandonment of this goal and withdrawal from Afghanistan because of steps I have already taken for the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the United States by India with 5,000 thermonuclear warheads and extermination of its population; see my blog. Satish Chandra
  • Satish Chandra posted:

    on 18th November 2010, 09:50:36 - Reply

    The following is a comment I posted on The Guardian on its Afghanistan war documents leak stories and then on The Independent, Washington Post, Times of India, Hindustan Times, etc., on July 27, 2010 :-

    I am India's expert in strategic defence and the father of India's strategic program, including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. I have shown in my blog titled 'Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.', which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title, that all terrorism and insurgencies in the Indian subcontinent and in much of the rest of the world is sponsored by the C.I.A. Both Pakistan's ISI and India's RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) function as branches of the C.I.A. and participate in terrorism and insurgencies throughout the Subcontinent, under direction of the C.I.A. Yes, the ISI secretly supports the Taliban but it does so under direction from the C.I.A. whose modus operandi is support for ALL sides of a conflict to control the course of the conflict in service of its own goals. The goal of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and partial occupation of Pakistan is eventual occupation and overt colonial rule over the Subcontinent as a whole. This will not be permitted and all those participating in this enterprise, including the U.K., will be duly punished; see my blog. The document leak currently in the news has been made in preparation for abandonment of this goal and withdrawal from Afghanistan because of steps I have already taken for the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the United States by India with 5,000 thermonuclear warheads and extermination of its population; see my blog. Satish Chandra