Tighter Security in Germany Terror Warning ahead of Champions League Final
A top German police official has warned government officials of a possible terror attack in Germany ahead of the Champions League final on Saturday evening, SPIEGEL has learned. Several public viewing events could be endangered, he said and security has been increased.
The 17th of June Street in the center of Berlin has been closed off for days. Right in front of the famed Brandenburg Gate, a stage has been set up and several gigantic screens as well. On Saturday evening, the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who will battle for the title in Wembley Stadium in London, is to be broadcast to tens of thousands in the heart of the German capital. White tents are ready to serve beer and sausage and loud music will keep the crowds moving until the game starts. Such huge parties have become something of a tradition in Berlin for large sporting events. And thus far, they have always been peaceful.
But SPIEGEL has learned that on Friday, the head of Germany's federal police agency (BKA), Jörg Ziercke, informed the interior ministers from Germany's states as well as Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich in a secret meeting that there are indications of a possible terror attack in Germany. Ziercke said that several suspects may be planning a bomb attack. Among other possible targets, the BKA chief said, are the various public events surrounding the Champions League final. He said that those suspected of planning the attack are Islamists.
Visitors to public viewing sites across the country will be confronted with increased security measures. In Berlin, where the so-called "fan mile" will stretch from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column in Tiergarten, police will increase surveillance and inspect any bags that look suspect in order to prevent possible explosives from being smuggled into the crowd. Similar measures are to be taken at events across the country. German officials are well aware of the vulnerability of such gatherings, particularly after the bombing at the Boston Marathon in mid-April.
Just how concrete the warning is remains unclear. Ziercke told the interior ministers that the indications are such that they "should be taken seriously." There have, however, been similar warnings and indications several times in the past. Thus far, however, all of them have proven incorrect.