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U.S. officials in Germany get terror warning

Story Highlights

Several officials dismiss connection to al Qaeda
• Official: Plot in advanced stages of planning against U.S. facilities in Germany
• Security level raised at diplomatic but not military facilities
• Senior federal official says plot involved use of bombs and small arms
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An alleged plot by a group of Islamic extremists against U.S. facilities in Germany led officials to increase security last month, a senior federal official told CNN on Friday.

While many U.S. and German officials were quick to say there has been no new information since then, Friday marked the first time information about what led to that raised security level was released.

The official, who insisted on anonymity, said the plot was in the advanced planning stages, and included the use of bombs and small arms against U.S. facilities -- possibly military facilities. (Watch reasons why alleged threat is being taken seriously Video)

The State Department, in a "warden message" April 20, said, "U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities in Germany are increasing their security posture. We are taking these steps in response to a heightened threat situation."

But U.S. military facilities in the country did not increase their security level. A military spokesman said the headquarters in Germany, at Patch Barrack in Stuttgart, remains at force protection level "Bravo," which means "threat of terrorist activity exists" but does not indicate a likelihood of activity.

A military official said the April 20 warden message was based on intelligence that was not specific and contained no "actionable" intelligence. (Wardens are volunteers who help embassies quickly convey official information to U.S. citizens in foreign countries.)

Intelligence officials characterized the alleged plotters as "Islamic extremists," but were not more specific. Several waved off suggestions of a possible link to al Qaeda.

Officials at the Pentagon and U.S. and German embassies emphasized that there was no expectation of an imminent attack.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying there also is no credible intelligence to suggest an imminent threat on U.S. soil.

The FBI echoed that, but added that while the agency is not aware of an imminent attack within Germany or the United States, "such a possibility cannot be discounted." It said it is working closely with law enforcement and intelligence communities in both countries.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told ABC: "The danger level is high. We are part of the global threat by Islamist terrorism."

U.S. air marshals are providing additional protection on flights between Germany and the United States, law enforcement officials told ABCNews.com.

Germany will host the G-8 Summit next month and has been engaged in a security crackdown in recent days. More than 900 officers took part in anti-terror raids, arresting more than 40 people.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve, Frederik Pleitgen, Barbara Starr, Jamie McIntyre and Pam Benson contributed to this report.


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