Chemical weapons (Archive photo)
Evidence is mounting that terrorist groups are trying to make chemical, biological weapons or a "dirty bomb", a German spy chief was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
"We observe experiments, training efforts, and production instructions being passed on via the Internet," August Hanning, head of the BND foreign intelligence agency, told ARD television.
In extracts from the interview, released by ARD ahead of broadcast on Wednesday evening, Hanning was quoted as ruling out, for now, the possibility of terrorists stealing a nuclear weapon or producing one by themselves.
'Danger constantly growing'
But a dirty bomb attack was "a very concrete threat" because it was "no real problem" to produce such a weapon, in which radioactive material would be packed with conventional explosive and scattered over a wide area on detonation.
Hanning said al-Qaeda had several times tried to acquire radioactive material and made contact with Pakistani nuclear scientists.
"From the questioning of al-Qaeda members it has become more and more clear that al-Qaeda has tried to recruit scientists," he said, speaking ahead of a BND conference on proliferation in Berlin on Thursday.
"And we were greatly disturbed to see that a Malaysian biologist was hired with the aim of assembling production facilities for anthrax in Afghanistan."
Asked for further comment, a BND spokesman said both the Pakistani and Malaysian cases dated from 2001 but described them as part of "a chain of evidence that the danger is constantly growing".