Germany heightens security on 'concrete indications' of terror attack
'We have cause for concern, but no reason for hysteria,' German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said today, adding that the tip-off came from a 'foreign partner,' reportedly the US.
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In addition to intelligence from the unnamed nation, Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office independently confirmed, based on investigations "of persons with ties to Islamist extremism... that Islamist groups continue to plan attacks in the Federal Republic of Germany."Skip to next paragraph
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According to Germany's Tagesspiegel daily, the United States is the "foreign partner" who provided the tip-off. Up to four Al Qaeda operatives were on their way to Germany to attack the popular Christmas shopping markets, according to Tagesspiegel, and expected to arrive Nov. 22 via India or the United Arab Emirates.
Germany's Interior Ministry responded with a degree of skepticism in late September when reports emerged of an Al Qaeda plot to carry out coordinated Mumbai-style terrorist attacks in major cities in Britain, France, Germany, and possibly the United States.
The US and Japan issued Europe-wide travel alerts and Britain raised its terror warning to "high" for its nationals in France and Germany. But, at the time, Maizière said in a statement that "there are currently no concrete indications of imminent attacks in Germany."
The BBC's correspondent in Berlin says that today Maizière's "demeanour was much changed. It exuded seriousness," compared with last month.
Despite the increased police presence and heightened security, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told the Wall Street Journal the German leader would not be changing her travel plans. "We'd be making a big mistake as a society if we let this totally change what we do," Mr. Seibert said.