Germany tightens anti-terror security for election

11th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Federal and state-level security officials agreed on a range of measures, which reportedly include more checks at airports and borders on people that may be returning from terror camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Berlin -- Top German officials have agreed to tighten security measures ahead of September's general elections because of fears of attacks by Islamist extremists, sources told AFP on Friday.

Although there are no "concrete indications" that attacks are being planned, authorities believe that "terrorist" groups may try to influence the election by targeting German interests, sources close to the government said.

Federal and state-level security officials agreed at a Thursday meeting on a range of measures, which reportedly include more checks at airports and borders on people that may be returning from terror camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They also want to carry out more checks at colleges and universities where they believe potential attackers are recruited, and to focus on potential militants from North Africa, the Spiegel weekly reported on its website.

Germany, which opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq but has around 3,700 troops in Afghanistan under NATO command, has already beefed up security and surveillance in response to the threat of militant attacks.

The closest authorities say it has come was in July 2006 when suitcases containing homemade bombs, placed on two regional trains at Cologne's main station, failed to detonate, averting an almost certain bloodbath.

The September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were also planned in part by an Al-Qaeda cell in the German port city of Hamburg. Four men are currently on trial in Düsseldorf for planning attacks on US interests.

In March 2004, attacks on Madrid's transport network killing 191 people were carried out three days before Spain's general election, resulting in the Socialists winning power.

AFP/Expatica

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