Oktoberfest Hikes Security After al-Qaeda Warnings

Beer tents busy despite terror group's threats
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2009 3:18 AM CDT
German police officers are on patrol at Munich's Oktoberfest.    (AP Photo/Christof Stache,file)
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(Newser) – The world's biggest beer festival now resembles a beer fortress after al-Qaeda videos hinted that the Munich Oktoberfest would be a target. Armed policemen now guard all the entrances to the festival, and fighter jets are patrolling overhead. People have been warned not to bring in large bags, and the lederhosen and dirndl-clad beer lovers are subject to searches, Der Spiegel reports.

One al-Qaeda video warned that Germany shouldn't consider Afghanistan "a beer tent in which it can celebrate the Oktoberfest all year round," and threatened reprisals if Germany keeps its troops in the country. Oktoberfest organizers say that the beer tents are as busy as ever despite the tight security. "If someone cancels their table reservations, we'll fill the tents with people who are less afraid," said one official.