BERLIN – The release of a third Al Qaeda video message in German this week shows that Germany must remain on alert before weekend parliamentary elections, officials said.
Authorities are analyzing the third message, which was released Thursday and calls on Muslims in Germany to take part in jihad, or holy war, German Interior Ministry spokesman Stefan Paris told reporters.
German officials, however, denied that the video put the nation in any further danger.
"We are taking this seriously," Paris said, but added that the still image with an audio message was not seen as increasing the existing terror threat.
In the message a masked person presumed to be Bekkay Harrach, who uses the pseudonym Abu Talha, speaks about piety and service to Allah.
German authorities and international intelligence groups said they believe all three German-language videos were made by Harrach, a German of Moroccan background believed to have lived for years in Bonn. Authorities say he could now be in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area.
The person in the third video says the best way for a "sinful Muslim seeking redemption ... is participation in jihad," according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which analyzed the video. No specific threats were mentioned.
The first video came out a week ago with a threat linked to German troops' presence in Afghanistan and the election — prompting authorities to step-up security at airports and train stations.
Police in Stuttgart said a 25-year-old Turkish man had been arrested Thursday for relaunching the video on the Internet. The suspect had been under surveillance for previously supporting Islamist causes, and "has not created the video himself and it is not yet clear where he obtained the video from," police spokesman Stefan Kalbach said.
The second Al Qaeda message mentioned Afghanistan and the issue of sin in Islam.
Germany's interior ministry said last week that the first video underlines the fact that Sunday's elections offer "a particular background for propaganda and operational actions by terrorist groups."
The government has tried to calm down citizens, saying there was no specific terror threat.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said security authorities were prepared to protect the country.
In the U.S., however, the State Department issued a Travel Alert on Wednesday cautioning Americans to be careful in coming weeks in Germany.
"Americans are advised to monitor news reports and consider the level of security present when visiting public places or choosing hotels, restaurants and entertainment and recreation venues" in Germany, the alert said. It expires on Nov. 11.