German interior minister plays down terror threat reports | News | DW | 25.05.2013
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German interior minister plays down terror threat reports

Germany’s interior minister has played down reports that terrorists may have been planning an attack to coincide with the Champions League final. Fans gathered at public viewing areas across the country.

A statement released by Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich on Saturday said Germany's intelligence services currently had no indication of a specific terrorist threat in the country. At the same time though, he said the authorities remained vigilant.

"Germany has stood in the cross hairs of international terrorism for a long time," the statement said. "At this time, there are no indications of plans to attack or targets within Germany." However, he also said that Germany's intelligence services were in close contact with their counterparts from elsewhere in Europe, much as they would be in anticipation of any major event.

The interior minister's statement followed a report published on the website of the Spiegel news magazine, which said that the head of Germany's Federal Criminal Office (BKA) had warned both federal and state officials in a secret meeting on Friday that terrorists may be planning an attack in the country.

A separate report by regional public broadcaster SWR said that the BKA had received the information from Russia's FSB intelligence agency. However the SWR report said it wasn't clear whether there was a specific threat to Champions League-related events. Prior to last month's bombings at the Boston Marathon, the FSB had drawn attention to suspects accused of carrying out that attack.

The reports and the interior minister's statement came just hours before thousands of soccer fans across the country gathered at outdoor public viewing areas to watch the final of the Champions League on big screens set up to watch the match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at London's Wembley Stadium.

The biggest public view areas were at Dortmund, Munich and in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate (pictured above).

This is the first time that two Bundesliga teams faced each other in the final of European football's most prestigious club competition.

pfd/rc (dpa, Reuters, AFP)