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Football | Champions League

Germany downplays terror threat



German security officials on Saturday sought to allay worries amid media reports of possible terrorist plans directed at public viewing areas where fans will gather to watch the all-German Champions League final.

Spiegel Online had earlier reported that Germany's Federal Criminal Police (BKA) had informed state and federal officials that terrorist organisations may be planning to target such events.

"Germany has stood in the cross hairs of international terrorism for a long time," said German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich in a statement. "At this time, there are no indications of plans to attack or targets within Germany."

The match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund is the first time two German teams will have met at a European Champions League final. This year's game is being played in London, and hordes of German football fans were expected to gather in public spaces to watch the game on television.

Friedrich said German security officials were in close contact with intelligence agencies from other European countries, just as they would be with any major event.

Oliver Platzer, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry of the southern German state of Bavaria, in which Munich lies, said fans attending public viewing should not expect exceptional security controls.

"There are no indications of any concrete dangers, not in Germany and certainly not in Bavaria," he said. Other key cities, like Dortmund and Berlin, were also not reporting plans for extra security.

The Interior Ministry of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia said it had no reports of specific threats, noting only "abstract" reports.

Broadcaster SWRinfo said the reports of a possible threat came from the Russian internal security service FSB. But it reported that authorities had no information on a specific time or place for any attack. Nor was it clear that any threat was specifically targeted at the Champions League events, it reported.

However, the FSB had fingered a possible suspect, who has since been identified by the BKA.

The FSB information is being treated seriously since the FSB had drawn attention to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects before the April 15 attack, which killed three and left dozens injured.

According to the Spiegel report, the BKA received indications that Islamists were pondering attacking public viewing areas before the start of the broadcast. BKA head Joerg Ziercke had informed federal and state interior ministries about the plans in a confidential meeting Friday, Spiegel reported.

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