Fears of terror attack in Germany


Lebanese authorities have warned of terrorist attacks being planned on targets within Germany, prompting the Justice Ministry in Berlin to increase its security measures, authorities said Saturday.

"There was a tip from Lebanon -- a warning tip," said Stefanie Amft, a spokeswoman for German federal police.

She said that the threat was related to the worldwide terrorism threat, but would not give further details.

"It is known that Germany is part of this worldwide threat," she said.

The comments come after two magazines, Focus and Der Spiegel, reported that the German Embassy in Beirut had received a phone call earlier this month threatening attacks on German military or judicial targets.

Following the threat, Lebanese authorities on Friday arrested a Syrian al Qaeda suspect identified only as "Mohammed N.," Focus magazine reported.

The suspect allegedly said a German-Turk, a Saudi and an Australian were already in Germany planning an attack on Berlin's Justice Ministry or other such agencies in order to avenge the prosecution of al Qaeda suspects in Germany, Focus reported, without citing sources. The report said explosives for the plot were already within Germany.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, refused to confirm any details but said they were aware of the issue and had taken "increased security measures" to protect employees.

Amft said the tip received by federal police had been passed along to all relevant agencies in Germany, but would not elaborate nor comment on security precautions.

Der Spiegel magazine, also without citing sources, reported that explosives were still on their way, and were thought to be coming in to the northern city of Rostock through Russia and Finland.

It said the potential attackers were looking for revenge in particular for Germany's September, 2007, arrest of Fritz Martin Gelowicz and other suspects who allegedly were plotting to attack a U.S. military base in Germany and other targets.

The group was also inspired to act against Germany by the prosecution of Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib, Der Spiegel reported.

El-Hajdib, a 22-year-old Lebanese citizen, is accused of attempting to blow up two commuter trains in July 2006 along with Jihad Hamad, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Lebanese court last month.

The magazines reported that German federal prosecutors had opened an investigation of the alleged plot, but spokeswoman Sonja Heine refused comment.

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