WASHINGTON (AFP) – A US counter-terrorism official on Friday said authorities had information suggesting Islamic extremists were plotting a terrorist attack against American targets in Germany.
US media reported German and American officials believed a terrorist attack on US targets in Germany was imminent.
The counter-terrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP the information was not specific in terms of timing or precise targets, but was of enough concern to prompt the US Embassy in Berlin to issue a threat warning on April 20.
Asked whether the threat involved attacks with bombs and small arms as reported, the official said, “Threat information is suggesting that is a possibility. But again the information wasn’t specific with regard to timing and location.”
US media reported that an Al-Qaeda cell was thought to be behind the threat.
Security has been beefed up at all US military and diplomatic facilities following reports that suspected terrorists had had Patch Barracks under surveillance.
“The attack would be designed to create high numbers of casualties among both Germans and the US military,” Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterror official, told ABC.
An unnamed senior US official was quoted by CNN as saying that the group was believed to be an affiliate of the Al-Qaeda terror network, and was thought to possess bombs and small arms.
But a State Department spokesman could not confirm that there had been a new threat, although an alert had been posted by the US embassy in Germany on its website a couple of weeks ago.
“The information that they received caused them to have some concern about the safety of some facilities in Germany including our diplomatic facilities,” spokesman Sean McCormack said.
People were asked “to exercise extra vigilance and caution, although at that point, they did not have a specific credible threat.”
Tiny Minority of Extremists Alert:
“There are 300 to 500 people who are suspected to be part of Al-Qaeda cells in Germany,” retired colonel Andrews Pratt of the George Marshall Center in Germany told the ABC.