German police are on a state of high alert following intelligence warnings of a major terrorist threat. Deputy Interior Minister August Hanning said they knew of no detailed plan, but that there had been a spate of suspicious activity.
Comparing the situation to that prior to the September 11th 2001 attacks, Hanning said: “We’ve got indications that incidents are planned in the region as well as throughout Europe and the United States. I don’t see any reason to panic, but I do believe there is reason for increased awareness”.
Germany has some 3000 soldiers in Afghanistan and that military operation is seen both as a possible target – a German convoy was ambushed only last week – and as a justification for a strike on the mainland itself. “I fear the day will come when attacks happen in Germany,” said Hanning. “I would remind you of the suitcase bombers who were are able to plan their attacks and it was only down to luck that there were not a lot of victims.”
Last summer suitcases packed with explosives were placed in trains in the Cologne area; the devices only failed to go off because of faulty detonators. Five people in Germany and Lebanon are facing charges over that aborted attack.