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Germany

Germany urges vigilance, but sees no specific terror threat

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has warned that terror threats worldwide are real and called for vigilance, after two packages found in Dubai and the UK and destined for the US, were intercepted.

An Emirates passenger jet, with complete tail showing, carrying cargo from Yemen sits on the tarmac at JFK International Airport

The two parcels contained explosives and were bound for Chicago

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has urged vigilance after two parcels containing explosives and bound for the US were intercepted in Dubai and the UK.

"We are generally in a situation where we always have to be prepared for terrorist attacks," he told Reuters TV at the convention of his party, the Christian Social Union, on Saturday.

"For some, it is abstract, but it is actually very real. And often, things happen in the most remote places on earth, that's why we need to adapt our approach to security," he added.

No specific threat to Germany

German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

Guttenberg says terror threats are not "abstract"

Despite this warning, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere insisted in a statement on Saturday that "there are no specific indications of planned attacks against Germany".

It comes after it emerged that a suspect parcel found on a US-bound plane in Britain was routed via the western German city of Cologne.

"Germany has raised its security measures to a higher level and is adapting to the situation," de Maiziere added.

De Maiziere announced late on Saturday that Germany was blocking all freight from Yemen, with orders being issued to air carriers and other relevant businesses.

"The government is making sure that, from now on, no freight coming from Yemen will arrive in Germany," said de Maiziere.

Suspicious packages were found on Friday on US-bound cargo planes at Britain's East Midlands airport near Nottingham and in Dubai.

British and Dubai authorities later confirmed that the explosives, found hidden in printers in those parcels, were viable and could have exploded.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron highlighted the international threat posed by "a package that started in Yemen, that landed in Germany, that landed in Britain en route to America."

"It just shows how united and determined we have to be to defeat terrorism," he said.

Arrest in Yemen

Meanwhile, Police in Yemen have arrested a woman thought to be involved in sending the parcels, after surrounding a house where she was hiding in the capital Sanaa. Authorities traced the woman through a telephone number she left with a cargo company.

"Yemen is determined to continue fighting terrorism and al Qaeda in cooperation with its partners. But we do not want anyone to interfere in Yemeni affairs by hunting down al Qaeda," Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh said at a news conference, not allowing journalists to ask further questions.

Author: Nicole Goebel, Richard Connor (dpa, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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