Danish embassy staff move to other offices in Kabul and Algiers

Arab World Materials 23 April 2008 12:25 (UTC +04:00)

Denmark has relocated its embassy staff to other offices from current embassy buildings in Algeria and Afghanistan against the backdrop of recent terrorist threats, a Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.

"The decision was made in the past two weeks," Erik Laursen, head of department at the Administrative Affairs unit, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The embassies continued to operate as usual from the new locations and no staff have been recalled, Laursen said.

Laursen said Copenhagen had consulted with authorities in Algeria and Afghanistan and "continually" assessed the threats, but he declined to detail the nature of the threats.

On April 10, the Danish security and intelligence service (PET) raised its terrorist alert, citing threats in regions where "militant extremist groups" were active.

The regions where threats against Denmark and Danish interests had increased included North Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Danish security and intelligence service said.

The PET said the assessment was based on an analysis of various open sources and information from other intelligence services.

In February, security police said they averted a plan to murder newspaper cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb as a turban.

The cartoon was one of 12 images published in September 2005 by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper. The cartoons sparked violent protests in 2006 and Danish companies were boycotted in many Muslim countries.

Leading Danish newspapers republished the cartoons after the alleged plot was disclosed, saying the move was to protect freedom of speech. That publication sparked new protests.