German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière on Wednesday warned the government had indications Islamists were planning terrorist attacks in Germany later this month.
“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 for hysteria,” 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.
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.”
He said Berlin had been tipped off by overseas authorities following the discovery of two US-bound parcel bombs originating from Yemen last month. One of the packages travelled undetected through Cologne-Bonn Airport before being stopped in Britain.