Berlin says al-Qaeda plotting to attack Germany
( dpa ) - The terrorist network al-Qaeda is actively plotting to attack Germany and is trying to recruit homegrown radicals inside Germany, Interior Ministry officials in Berlin warned Friday.
August Hanning, state secretary, said al-Qaeda leaders in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region had decided to mount attacks on German soil. He told the newspaper Die Welt, "Our concern is that we can't foil every operation."
In September Germany arrested three men who were said to have hired a holiday flat in a remote central German hill town to mix chemicals for a bomb attack on US forces in Germany.
Bernhard Falk, deputy head of the Federal Crime Office, told Die Welt, "In addition to those plans, it is highly likely that there are several other lines of planning."
Approached for comment by Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, Stefan Paris, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said, "In past years, Germany was just somewhere in their picture, but now we are clearly in their cross-hairs."
He said the federal police, who are answerable to his ministry and have the task of tracking terrorists, had found the German language was being used more often on extreme Islamist websites.
There were more German-language pages, which contained detailed instructions on how to make terrorist bombs, and many hours of Islamist web videos which had been overlaid with German subtitles.
These included films of classes with teachers standing in front of students, he said.
Al-Qaeda was trying harder to persuade extremists to cross the line to become terrorists.