A report by the German mass circulation daily Bild on Monday said that al-Qaeda leaders have been plotting attacks on high-speed rail networks across Europe.
The group could plant explosives on trains and tunnels or sabotage tracks and electrical cabling, said Bild, Europe\’s most widely-read daily.
The newspaper said the information came from the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States, which had listened in to a call involving top al-Qaeda operatives.
The attacks on Europe\’s rail network was a "central topic" of this call, Bild said.
Authorities in Germany have responded to the threat with discrete measures such as deploying plain-clothes police officers at key stations and on main routes, according to the daily.
According to US media reports, intelligence services intercepted communications earlier this month between al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and more than 20 operatives from across the group\’s global network.
This prompted the US and several allies to shut embassies across the Muslim world, fearful of a major attack.
On August 1, the US issued a worldwide alert, warning of al-Qaeda plans to launch an attack in the Middle East or North Africa.
The al-Qaeda bombings in Madrid on March 11 2004 killed 190 people and injured 2000.
Source: AFP and Agencies