BERLIN, July 21 (Reuters) - German authorities believe Al Qaeda is
targeting Germany for possible attacks and that German Islamists have been
travelling to Pakistan for "terrorist training", a top security official
told a newspaper.
In a preview of an article appearing on Sunday, Deputy Interior
Minister August Hanning said: "The danger that there could be terrorist
attacks here is very real."
"We have many indications that Al Qaeda is targeting Germany and
German installations abroad, such as embassies," Hanning was quoted as
telling Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. "There is a new quality in
the threat to Germany."
Last month German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said
authorities needed to increase vigilance due to the possibility that
militants might carry out suicide attacks on German soil.
In April the U.S. embassy in Berlin announced it was boosting
security at its facilities in Germany in response to what it described as
an increased threat of terrorism.
Hanning, a former head of Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency,
also said German Islamists were being trained in Pakistan. Three German
Islamists who trained there returned to Germany at the beginning of June,
"We have to assume that the people who returned from Pakistan are
planning attacks," he said. "This is a new, specific threat and is a cause
He said the Interior Ministry was aware of 14 Islamists who went to
Pakistan, some of whom were still there. He added that Berlin believed that
there were more Germans who had gone to "terrorist training camps" in
In recent months Pakistani authorities have detained at least seven
German Islamists "who could have been involved in planning attacks", he
"We need to do everything possible to find out who went to Pakistan
and was trained there," Hanning said.
Berlin has also said it believed there may be similar training camps
in Afghanistan, where Germany has more than 3,000 troops stationed as part
of a NATO peacekeeping force. The Taliban has threatened to step up attacks
on German troops.
On Saturday, there were conflicting reports of what happened to two
German hostages taken by the Taliban.
A spokesman for Afghanistan's Taliban movement said it had killed the
two after its demands for Germany to withdraw troops and for Kabul to
release all Taliban prisoners were ignored.
An Afghan official later said one hostage was still alive but the
other had died of a heart attack. The German Foreign Ministry said it had
received no independent confirmation.