Germany warns of pre-election Islamist attack: report

Al Qaeda is planning a major attack on Germans before September's election to wreak revenge for the deployment of troops in Afghanistan, a German magazine cited security officials as saying on Saturday.

Der Spiegel said German intelligence officials and the Federal Crime Office believed German firms based in Algeria and German citizens in northern Africa were in particular danger.

The officials also warned of attacks in Germany. The new assessment is largely due to a warning from the U.S. government, believed to be based on information from al Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, said the weekly.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry declined to comment on the report of a fresh threat. In recent months, however, officials have repeatedly warned that Germany is a likely target for Islamist militants.

As a result of the new information, Germany's Federal Crime Office has issued a new assessment of the security situation to authorities in each of Germany's 16 federal states.

Unlike other European countries such as Britain or Spain, Germany has not experienced a major attack on its home soil in recent years.

Der Spiegel said al Qaeda's aim was to end Germany's military activities in Afghanistan which is already unpopular with the German public.

Germany has a parliamentary mandate to send 4,500 soldiers to Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led force.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Jon Hemming

in Bulgaria. AP