Al Qaeda planning attack on German parliament, media reports say
Al Qaeda and groups allied with the terrorist network are planning to attack the German parliament, according to reports to be published on Monday in Germany's Der Spiegel news magazine.
AFP - Al-Qaeda and its allies are planning an attack on the German parliament, the news magazine Der Spiegel reports in its edition to be published on Monday.
Quoting police sources Der Spiegel said the attack would involve a hostage taking in Berlin's historic Reichstag building.
Germany's Federal Crime Office (BKA) was informed about the plans in several telephone calls from a jihadist abroad, who allegedly wanted to quit an extremist group, the magazine said.
Information received from the caller prompted Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Wednesday to warn of a heightened threat of Islamist attacks on German territory.
Barriers were erected around the Reichstag as part of increased security measures.
German police and the interior ministry were not immediately available for comment on the report.
Der Spiegel said the attack was to be carried out by a unit of six people, according to the informer.
Two of them had already arrived in Berlin six to eight weeks ago, while the four others -- a German, a Turk, a North African and another man whose identity was unknown to the informer were waiting to enter the country.
The attack was allegedly planned for February or March.
Der Spiegel said De Maiziere had been told by the FBI two weeks ago of a planned attack by a Shia Indian group which was cooperating with Al-Qaeda and planning to send two group members to Germany.
De Maiziere had said Wednesday new attacks were being planned in Germany, including one this month, causing a "new security situation" in the country.
"From today, there will be a visible police presence. I thought it should be explained to citizens," he told a hastily called press conference in Berlin.
"There is reason for concern, but no reason for hysteria," he added.
"Since the middle of 2010, the security services have noticed increased indications that the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda has been planning attacks in the United States, in Europe and in Germany."
"We now have more details and indications of danger ... It is the unanimous assessment of the security services that we are currently dealing with a new situation."