Terror Threat Shuts Berlin's Reichstag Cupola


Part of Germany's parliament building has been closed over fears of a terrorist attack.

The Cupola, which attracts thousands of tourists every day for its views of Berlin, will be shut until further notice.

Only tourists with advance bookings are being allowed through police barricades at the Cupola, in the Reichstag.

Parliamentary spokeswoman Birget Landskron said: "It has to do with the security situation." She refused to reveal more information.

The move comes after a report in Der Spiegel magazine saying that al Qaeda planned a possible attack on the parliament building early next year.

It claimed a jihadist living abroad informed them of a plan for armed militants to enter the 19th Century building in central Berlin and open fire.

Head of Germany's Federal Crime Office Joerg Ziercke called the report "highly speculative".

"We have concrete details of suspects, but no concrete details that an attack will be carried out at a specific time and place."

Foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall has said there may be some truth to the claims.

"The Der Spiegal article has not been denied by the authorities, then this morning, suddenly, the Germans say 'right, we're closing it' and that says specific intelligence all over it."

He believes the country's involvement in the war on terror has put it under threat.

"Germany stayed out of Iraq but they've gone into Afghanistan in quite a big way and that made them immediately a target."

He also thinks a lack of social cohesion has contributed to the problems.

Germany has been on high alert since last Wednesday following a decision by German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere to step up security.

Airports and train stations have been patrolled by security forces for almost a week, and now police are also in force at the Reichstag building.