New extremist video threatens Germany

29th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

Video promises surprise attacks on German forces and comes after a similar threatening video aired last week.

Berlin -- A new Internet video from Islamic extremists threatening attacks on Germany, the second such to appear this month, represents a "new level" of threat, authorities said on Wednesday.

The message from the militant Islamic Jihad Union, which was posted in several languages including German, promised "a few surprise gifts for the occupation forces," apparently referring to Berlin's role in NATO operations in Afghanistan.

"The ally of the occupation forces should always count on our attacks," the video continued. It also mentioned German Chancellor Angela Merkel by name.

The video "represents a new level of threat for Germany in the opinion of our security services," an interior ministry spokesman said.

The ministry said on Saturday that it was taking seriously another video posted on YouTube in which militants threatened to carry out attacks in the cities of Berlin, Cologne and Bremen over Germany's engagement in Afghanistan.

A man identified as Bekkay Harrach, who was born in Morocco but lived for several years in Bonn, appeared in the German-language video saying that "time was running out for Germany."

Germany has about 3,300 soldiers in the relatively safe north of Afghanistan as part of NATO's 50,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Last year, Berlin decided to increase its contingent to 4,500 troops.

The closest Germany came to an attack on home soil was believed to be in July 2006, when Islamic militants placed suitcases containing home-made bombs on two regional trains passing through Cologne's busy main train station. The bombs failed to detonate.

However German troops in Afghanistan have become common targets of attack for Taliban insurgents. A suicide bomb exploded this month outside the German embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul, killing two Afghans and wounding American and German nationals.

A Taliban spokesman said two German embassy vehicles were the intended targets.


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