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Germany

Berlin scales back terror alert despite ongoing threat

The German government announced on Tuesday that it will gradually reduce the additional security measures it introduced last November, after receiving intelligence of an imminent terrorist attack.

Federal police at Cologne main station

Additional police had been in place since mid-November

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced on Tuesday that additional security measures introduced last November would be gradually scaled back, but said that the threat of a terrorist attack remained.

"Security officials have come to the conclusion that a gradual withdrawal of the enhanced nationwide security measures that were put in place on November 17 is possible," de Maiziere told reporters.

Germany had beefed up security measures at airports, train stations and other crowded places after two US-bound parcel bombs originating from Yemen passed through Cologne airport in western Germany.

No all-clear

Thomas de Maiziere

De Maiziere insisted he did not overreact last November

But de Maiziere stressed that the threat of an Islamist terrorist attack had not diminished.

"I am not able to give the all-clear in the foreseeable future," he told reporters, adding that security could be stepped up again quickly should new threats emerge.

On November 17, de Maiziere announced the additional measures after the government obtained intelligence from both domestic and foreign sources on an imminent terrorist attack in Germany, without specifying where exactly it may take place.

Germany views itself as a target for Islamist terrorist attacks because of its large military presence in Afghanistan. With around 4,700 troops, Germany has the third-largest contingent of the US-led NATO force in the country, after Britain.

Author: Nicole Goebel (dapd, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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