Berlin: A group of al Qaeda terrorists trained in Pakistani camps and assisted by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim are planning to storm Germany's Parliament in a Mumbai-style attack, a media report has said, prompting authorities here to step up security of the building.
Police have cordoned off the area around the historic Reichstag building housing Parliament here and heightened security after authorities received a tip-off that a group of militants were on their way to stage a Mumbai-style attack.
Hundreds of extra police have been pressed into service to protect other possible targets as well such as airports, railway stations and places of mass gatherings across the country.
The heightened security for the Reichstag comes after the news magazine 'Der Spiegel' reported that a group of six al Qaeda terrorists, who have visited training camps in the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, are planning to storm the building housing Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, early next year.
Two of them have already arrived in Berlin six to eight weeks ago and their accomplices, a German, a Turk, a north African and an unidentified man are waiting to enter the country. Their attacks are planned for February or March next year, the magazine said.
The warning about the planned attack on the Reichstag came to the Federal Criminal Office (BKA) from a German Islamic militant, who slipped to Pakistan some time ago to receive training in the terrorist camps there and now wants to return to his family.
However, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere issued a separate warning about "concrete evidence" for an attack by Islamic terrorists at the end of this month on the basis of a second tip-off received by the BKA from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the magazine said.
The US domestic intelligence service warned that a Shiite militant group called Saif had entered into a pact with al Qaeda to carry out an attack in Germany and two men dispatched by the group were waiting to enter Germany via the UAE on November 22 with Schengen visas, Der Spiegel said.
The FBI has identified Mustaq Altaf Bin-Khadri as the mastermind behind the plot and he is assisted in getting the men across to Germany by weapons and narcotics smuggler Dawood Ibrahim, the report said.
A government spokesman yesterday declined to comment on the Spiegel report and said the government has nothing new to add beyond the warning of a possible terrorist attack this month issued by the Interior Minister.
The 'Focus' magazine published from Munich, meanwhile, said security authorities are investigating reports that Schengen visas may have been issued to some suspected terrorists in India, Pakistan and the UAE, possibly also with forged passports. They include two Pakistanis, two Indians as well as two German nationals of Syrian and Moroccan origin, it said.
"Since the middle of 2010, the security services have noticed increased indications that the terrorist organisation al Qaeda has been planning attacks in the United States, in Europe and in Germany.
"We now have more details and indications of danger.... It is the unanimous assessment of the security services that we are currently dealing with a new situation."
First Published: Monday, November 22, 2010, 17:13