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Germany on high alert for terror attacks

BERLIN — German law enforcement officials said Saturday that they were looking for two suspected terrorists thought to be in or around the capital city in one of several investigations aimed at thwarting what authorities believe are myriad plans by Islamic radicals to attack the nation.

They have information that two men entered Germany six to eight weeks ago from Waziristan, in Pakistan, and were awaiting delivery of detonators, perhaps from Turkey, to carry out an attack, a German security official said.

Aspects of this suspected plot were reported in several German news outlets on Saturday, including ARD television, which said the attackers "are rotating their accommodation, staying in the homes of other people, are living together, not using the telephone, not going to the mosque and making sure they are dressed in Western clothes."

Police and government officials said last week that they had concrete information of plans for a terrorist attack by the end of the year and so have stepped up their counterterrorism efforts. The police and investigators are closely monitoring cross-border traffic and have sent heavily armed police officers and bomb-detecting dogs to transportation hubs, popular sites and government and parliamentary offices.

Even before the government said there was a high probability of an attack, law enforcement officials and terrorism experts here said they feared that terrorists were planning a Mumbai-style attack, sending small teams of armed militants to rampage through so-called soft targets.

Though this most recent warning focused on terrorists crossing into the country, terrorism experts and government officials here say they are also worried about German citizens who may be radicalized and lying in wait to carry out an attack.

"The threat is nationalizing, the networks are nationalizing and our security services are having big problems coming to terms with the evolution of this new threat," said Guido Steinberg, an expert in Islamic radicalism with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

As German law enforcement worked round the clock and the police were told to cancel holiday vacation plans to preserve the beefed-up security on the street, officials in Namibia announced that it appeared terrorists were not involved with planting a dummy bomb among baggage heading onto a flight for Munich.

The nation's police commander, Lt. Gen. Sebastian Ndeitunga, said a senior Namibian aviation security officer had been arrested in connection with the mock bomb found Wednesday in a laptop case at the airport there.

But, he said, the investigation was just beginning into how the device, made by a California company to test airport security, ended up at an airport halfway round the world.

Germany on high alert for terror attacks 11/20/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:23pm]
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