Germany to relax 'anti-terror' measures

1st February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany's interior minister said Tuesday that additional security measures imposed late last year in response to indications of an imminent "terrorist" attack are set to be gradually scaled back.

Security authorities "have come to the conclusion that a progressive reduction of security measures introduced on November 17, 2001 is possible," Thomas de Maiziere told reporters.

"We will continue to pursue with high intensity all clues and indications in order to head off any danger to our country and the population, together with our international partners," he added.

He warned however that there could be no "all-clear."

Germany had beefed up security measures at crowded places such as airports and train stations after two US-bound parcel bombs originating from Yemen were found to have passed through Cologne airport in western Germany.

Berlin was also told by an unnamed foreign partner that militants were planning an attack in Germany in November. Its own information also suggested Islamic extremists were plotting an attack.

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.

© 2011 AFP

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