Security: German authorities warn of increased terrorist threat following Jan. 3 Soleimani killing. Expect increased security near potential targets.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 06 Jan 2020 17:17 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Jan 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Terror threat warning
  • Location: Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Jan. 4
  • Impact: Heightened security measures; possible associated disruptions

Summary
Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has issued nationwide guidance warning of a possible increase in the terrorist threat following the Jan. 3 killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani by US forces in Baghdad, Iraq. Iran has vowed to retaliate for the killing, and the BKA has raised concerns that Iranian proxies may strike US and Israel-associated institutions.

A visibly increased security force presence is likely around potential targets such as US and Israeli diplomatic missions and businesses, as well as US and NATO military facilities. Police could introduce security cordons and additional personal and vehicle security checks around such sites, which could prompt localized disruptions. German security forces are well-resourced and capable of detecting, deterring, and reacting effectively to terrorist plots, but sporadic security alerts arising from a heightened public sensitivity to the terrorist threat could prompt short-term disruptions, even in the absence of genuine terrorist activity.

Background and Analysis
Germany already faces a moderate threat from Islamist and far-right terrorism; the latest guidance is likely precautionary, rather than based on any specific intelligence of an actual plot to carry out a terrorist attack. Nevertheless, the Iranian threat to retaliate for Soleimani's death is being taken seriously in Western European capitals and could lead other regional governments to escalate their terrorist threat levels in the near term.

Advice
Exercise caution around potential targets and allow additional time for possible security checks near US- and Israeli-associated sites. Report any suspicious behavior or objects to security forces.

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