Angela Merkel
Michael Probst  /  AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel waves after her speech during a party meeting of Christian Democratic Union in Karlsruhe, Germany. The White House said on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010, that President Barack Obama will award Merkel the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor in a ceremony early next year. (AP Photo/Michael Probst) staff and news service reports
updated 11/20/2010 4:45:52 PM ET 2010-11-20T21:45:52

Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to reassure Germans on Saturday after her government alerted the country to a heightened terrorist threat, saying everything is being done to ensure people's security.

Merkel's interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, raised Germany's security level Wednesday. He cited an increased threat from extremists but didn't give specific details.

"I think everything is being done to ensure the security of people in Germany," Merkel said on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal. "We have a real threat from terrorism ... but we are determined not to be deprived of our free way of living by such threats."

Merkel's comments came after the weekly Der Spiegel reported, without citing sources, that an informer told German authorities that al-Qaida and associated groups were believed to be planning an attack on Berlin's Reichstag parliament building early next year.

Merkel had no comment on that, but the head of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office called the report "highly speculative," the German news agency DAPD reported.

"There are no indications of specific places, people or moments," Joerg Ziercke said in Hamburg.

According to Der Spiegel, the informant told German police that a terror cell comprised of six people was purportedly planning an attack for February or March. Two suspects are believed to already have come to Berlin six to eight weeks ago; four others are waiting to travel to Germany, the informant told authorities.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported Saturday that German authorities are looking for two suspected suicide bombers who arrived in Berlin about six weeks ago from the Waziristan region of Pakistan.

The suspects are trying to avoid detection by wearing western clothes, avoiding mosques, and changing their hideouts regularly, sources told the Journal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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