Germany has issued a new terrorism alert, over what the Interior Ministry says are “concrete indications” that terror attacks are planned against the country for the end of November.
Thomas de Maiziere, speaking Wednesday in Berlin, said the current risk assessment will produce an increased police presence, particularly at airports, until further notice. Sources state Germany could be target of an attack as early as November 22.
“There is information from our foreign partners that planned attacks are allegedly to be carried out at the end of November,” he said in Berlin, describing a “new situation” regarding the Islamist threat towards the nation.
“There’s reason to be worried, but no reason to panic,” he said, mentioning “concrete leads” being followed by the authorities.
De Maizière said he had put federal police on alert and ordered heightened security at German airports and train stations.
“From today, there will be a more visible police presence. I thought it should be explained to citizens,” he said.
The announcement is a marked departure from the German government’s warnings in recent weeks of an abstract terrorist threat.
According to the German news publication “Tagesspiegel”, warnings were received from the United States. Targets could possibly be Christmas Markets, train stations and airports.
Only last month, de Maizière criticized reports Islamists were planning imminent attacks in Germany as “alarmist” and said there was no reason to change the country’s security threat level.
But the minister said on Wednesday security services had noticed growing signs that the terrorist network al-Qaida was planning attacks in the United States, Europe and Germany since mid-2010.
“We now have more details and indications of danger,” he said. “It is the unanimous assessment of the security services that we are currently dealing with a new situation.”
But de Maizière said Germans should not be cowed by the threat of possible attacks.
“We will not allow international terrorism to limit our way of life or our liberty,” he said.
De Maiziere spoke of “a new security situation” in Germany, citing a tip from an unspecified country. He did not say where the attack was supposed to occur.
Much of western Europe, including Germany, has been on heightened alert since early last month, when package bombs were found on two U.S.-bound airplanes.
Those discoveries triggered warnings from the United States, Britain and Japan, of possible al-Qaida attacks on major British, French and German cities.