This past weekend, many AFN-TV viewers noticed the advisory note on security and terrorism rolling across the bottom of their television screens.

While the American Forces Network regularly incorporates security reminders and alerts into its mix of public service announcements, this particular warning implied a higher degree of concern, in part because of its placement and frequent reappearance.

The warning on AFN Europe’s Web site reads: “In light of the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against Americans and U.S. interests overseas, the U.S. Embassy encourages American citizens in and visiting Germany to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Berlin would not elaborate at all on the circumstances that led to the decision to issue the security alert.

“We periodically remind American citizens traveling and/or living overseas to be vigilant concerning their person security,” said the spokeswoman, who asked that her name not be used.

But a spokesman for the German Federal Criminal Office, or BKA, characterized the current security threat situation in Germany as one of the most serious in years. He said two recent events have authorities concerned.

One is the kidnapping in Iraq of a German woman and her son. They have been missing since Feb. 6.

In a recent video, a masked man threatened to kill the pair if Germany doesn’t pull its soldiers out of Afghanistan. The woman, who is married to an Iraqi physician, was taken from her home in Baghdad, according to news reports.

Then, about 10 days ago, an extremist Web site posted a video in which another masked man read a statement warning Germany of its participation in the United States’ “war on Islam and Muslims.” Such support, the man said, “will lead only to endangering Germany itself.”

The BKA spokesman said there have been threats before. However, they usually address Western Europe as a whole, not a particular country. In the more recent video, flags of Germany and Austria are prominently displayed.

For Germany and Austria to be singled out in that manner “is new,” the spokesman said.

Ann Mulligan, the director of broadcasting for AFN Europe, said Monday that the special announcement, which began airing Saturday, would be lifted by the end of the day.

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