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Reichstag cupola closed to tourists following alert

Tourist visits to the Reichstag cupola in Berlin are to be suspended as security fears grow in Germany.

Last week security officials in the country warned of an impending Al-Qa’ida attack, subsequently raising the terror alert level.

As part of precautions following the development a spokeswoman for parliament said the popular tourist site - from which one can get a panoramic view of the city - will be closed until further notice.

Birget Landskron also said “it has to do with the security situation” but would not elaborate further.

The move comes after Der Spiegel magazine reported on the weekend - without citing sources - an informer claimed to German authorities that al-Qaida planned a possible attack early next year on the parliament building.

The plan reportedly involved taking hostages at the Reichstag.

The Reichstag cupola is one of the most popular destinations in Berlin

The head of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office called the report “highly speculative”.

“We have no firm lead on a specific location of a potential attack, or names or groups,” added Joerg Ziercke, head of the Federal Criminal Police Office.

The United States issued a general travel alert for Americans in Europe last month amid concerns that al Qaeda or related groups might be planning attacks similar to the 2008 massacre in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Accredited groups of visitors can still access the Reichstag, as can visitors to the restaurant on the roof.

On Friday German officials revealed a suspected bomb discovered on an Air Berlin flight in Namibia was a dummy.