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Europe ramps up security after Al Qaeda threat

November 23, 2010 18:55 IST

Security agencies carried out major sweeps in European cities today arresting 10 Islamic radical suspects in Belgium and Spain after highest level security alert was sounded of a possible Mumbai-style terror attack.

Raids were also carried out in Netherlands and Germany where the Reichstag building housing the parliament was closed down and security beefed up at all metro stations in view of threats of attacks by the Al Qaeda terrorists trained in Pakistani camps, officials said.

"The arrests were part of an inquiry into international jihadists terror," German TV quoted Belgian prosecutors as saying.

The police carried out massive raids into colonies in the Belgian port city of Antwerp where Chechen refugees are housed.

"Ten homes were searched in three nations on Tuesday and ten suspects of Belgian, Dutch, Moroccon and Russian nationality was detained.

The prosecution office statement said, similar raids had been carried out in Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia and more arrests made.

The official said that security agencies were targeting the Chechens following tip-off that suicide squads had been despatched from Afghan-Pak border to carry out missions in major European capitals.

Besides Germany, The UK's Scotland Yard and French Surete are also on full alert for possible Al Qaeda strikes in London and Paris. The German magazine Der Spiegel had reported on the weekend, that a group of Al Qaeda terrorists trained in Pakistani camps and assisted by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim are planning to storm Germany's Parliament in a Mumbai-style attack.

Following the publication of the report, police cordoned off the area around the historic Reichstag building in Berlin and heightened security. Hundreds of extra police have been pressed into service to protect other possible targets as well such as airports, railway stations and places of mass gatherings across the country.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere raised the county's terrorist threat level last week, saying that Berlin had received a tip from an unspecified country about a suspected attack planned for the end of November.

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