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Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, for some time now the federal security authorities have regarded the threat of international terrorism as elevated. Since spring 2009, there have been indications of possible attacks in the U.S., in Europe and in Germany. However, no more specific information was available.
Since the middle of this year, the security authorities have had increasing indications that the Al Qaeda terrorist organization has long-term plans to carry out attacks in the U.S., Europe and Germany. The security authorities consider three possible threat scenarios as likely. The security authorities have been intensively investigating these indications for weeks, in the closest possible cooperation with our international partners and with the necessary sensitivity.
In addition to these earlier indications, we now have further relevant information which the security authorities agree indicates that we are currently facing a new threat situation.
In this context, I would like to mention three things:
1. The attempted international air cargo attacks in late October, for which the regional al-Qaeda affiliate calling itself “al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” has credibly claimed responsibility, demonstrated the terrorists’ adaptability and persistence in pursuing their goals. They also confirmed that our information was reliable.
2. According to a tip provided by a foreign partner, which we received after the Yemen incident, an attack is supposedly planned for late November.
3. The latest results of an investigation by the Federal Criminal Police Office of persons with ties to Islamist extremism again confirm, independently of information from other sources, that Islamist groups continue to plan attacks in the Federal Republic of Germany. As in the second case I have mentioned, here too we have specific information on which to base our investigations.
So we have very recently, up to the past few days, become aware of information relevant to the security situation in the Federal Republic of Germany. The fact that this information largely agrees in terms of timing and substance with the rather general indications we had earlier has changed the situation. This situation can be compared with the threat assessment and the measures taken for the Bundestag elections in 2009.
The federal and state security authorities are prepared to deal with this situation. Comprehensive plans were drawn up already last year and will be applied again now. I have therefore ordered the Federal Police to take appropriate security measures, especially at airports and train stations, in view of the current threat situation. This order will remain in effect until further notice. We have coordinated these measures with the states, and I am grateful to my counterparts at state level for taking comparable steps in their areas of responsibility. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the police officers for carrying out these orders.
Our measures are intended to prevent and deter terrorist attacks. We will demonstrate strength and will not be intimidated. The public will be able to see these police measures, but there will also be many measures you will not be able to see.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have cause for concern, but no reason for hysteria. We will not allow international terrorism to interfere with our daily lives nor with our democratic way of life. Let us all take this to heart. Be assured that we are working with our international partners to do everything in our power to protect the people of the Federal Republic of Germany.