The magazine said the planned attacks were meant to avenge the German army’s military involvement in Afghanistan and to press the army to withdraw from the country.
The report said the assessment was based on a new warning by the US government that the al-Qaida leadership in the dangerous Afghanistan-Pakistan border area had taken a decision to target Germans. The operation is to be carried out by the North African arm of the terrorist group, the al-Qaida in the Maghreb.
Citing the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) and the Federal Police Agency (BKA), the report said German companies in Algerian and German nationals in North Africa are particularly at risk.
Der Spiegel said the BfV had begun to warn German companies, who have branches in the Maghreb, of possible terrorist strikes. They are also reportedly alerting German businessmen to the risk of kidnappings by al-Qaida activists. The report pointed to the case of a Darmstadt-based German woman who was held hostage in North Africa for several months and released in April after the government in Mali said it was prepared to release a prisoner affiliated to al-Qaida.
Germany has seen a spate of videos and warnings in recent months, criticising the government’s involvement in Afghanistan. On Friday, a new video by German Islamist Eric Breininger turned up on the Internet, threatening to fight “infidels” in Afghanistan.
In early 2008, Germany’s BKA announced that Eric Breininger along with Houssain al-M., both from Neunkirchen in the German state of Saarland, had travelled to Afghanistan at the end of 2007, where they are thought to have prepared for a suicide bombing there.
Both are suspected of having ties to suspected terrorists arrested in the Sauerland region in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2007 that belonged to a group known as the Islamic Jihad Union.