German parliament building closed to tourists amid fears of terrorist attack

10:19, November 23, 2010      

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The glass dome and roof terrace of German parliament building, Reichstag, were closed to tourists on Monday as the whole country upgraded its security level against terrorist attacks.

German parliament issued a statement on Monday morning saying it would close the dome and roof terrace without giving any reason and without mention of the reopening date. However, group visitors who have previously registered are still allowed in.

Security around the Reichstag had been considerably strengthened with 60 more police officers, said Ehrhart Koerting, the interior minister of Berlin.

The Der Spiegel weekly said Saturday that al-Qaida will launch an attack against the German parliament building in February or March according to recent calls to the German federal crime agency (BKA) from an informant.

The attack will be similar to the 2008 Mumbai attack, which massacred at least 175 people, Der Spiegel said. According to the informant, a group of six people have been sent to launch the attack. Two have been in Berlin for six to eight weeks, while the rest four people, including a German, a Turk and a North African were on their way.

The report has not been confirmed by the BKA. However, security checks have been enhanced throughout the country since Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Wednesday that concrete information about terrorist attacks against Germany planned for the end of November has been received.

The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, constructed to house the parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and had housed the Reichstag until 1933.

The building has a strong symbolic meaning for Germany and the world as it has witnessed several historical events, like Nazi assuming complete control of Germany in 1933, and the end of World War II in 1945. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, it was soon restored as the country's legislature, which attracts hundreds of visitors every day.

Source: Xinhua


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