This file photo shows the main railway station in Mainz, western Germany, on August 12, 2013
BERLIN: Al Qaeda is planning attacks on high-speed trains in Europe and authorities in Germany have stepped up security on the country’s rail system, a German newspaper said yesterday.
The information about planned attacks came from the US National Security Agency (NSA), which apparently intercepted a call between senior Al Qaeda members several weeks ago, the mass-circulation daily Bild said. But the German Interior Ministry said it regularly received information about such threats and was not planning to increase overall security.
“It is known that Germany, along with other Western states, is a target for jihadist terrorists so we always assess warnings on a case-by-case basis but we already have a high level of protective measures and we do not plan to step these up at the moment,” spokesman Jens Teschke said.
Bild said authorities had tightened security on high-speed Intercity-Express routes and at stations with “invisible measures”, including the deployment of plainclothes police. German federal police said efforts were already commensurate with the “highly dangerous situation both at home and abroad” but said it had alerted its forces.
The Bild report cited unnamed security experts as saying attacks could include acts of sabotage on rail infrastructure or bombings on board trains. German rail operator Deutsche Bahn would not comment on the report, but said the company was always in regular contact with security authorities over possible threats.
Earlier this month the US shut around 20 embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa after saying it had picked up information through surveillance and other means about unspecified threats. Reuters