German Christmas Market Evacuated as IED Found

Potsdam Christmas market in 2014. (Photo: Iwan Gabovitch/Creative Commons)
Potsdam Christmas market in 2014. (Photo: Iwan Gabovitch/Creative Commons)

A Christmas market in the German city of Potsdam was evacuated December 1 after police found an improvised explosive device (IED) nearby. The market was re-opened a day later with increased security.

Police in the state of Brandenburg reported the device was delivered to a pharmacy in Potsdam. An employee called the police after opening the package and discovering an IED inside.

Police officers defused it three hours later. The device contained nails, wires and batteries but no detonator. It is not currently known who sent the IED.

“We just don’t know at this point if this was a device that could have actually exploded, or a fake, or a test,” Interior Minister for Brandenburg Karl-Heinz Schröte told media. Police are carrying out an investigation into who is behind it.

ISIS threatened to attack European cities during the Christmas season, circulating the following image with writing in English, French and German saying, “Soon on your holidays.”

ISIS threatens European Christmas markets
ISIS threatens European Christmas markets (Image: ISIS propaganda)

However investigators so far do not think this specific threat targeted the market. “According to evidence so far, our investigators think it is rather unlikely that the Christmas market was the target,” Potsdam police tweeted.

Last year 12 people were killed in a terror attack on a Christmas market in Berlin when a terrorist drove a truck through the crowd. Families of those killed wrote an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, accusing her government of abandoning them. They slammed the government’s approach to counter-terrorism, saying Germany failed at “basic professionalism in its approach to terrorism.”

“Madam Chancellor, the attack on Breitscheidplatz is a tragic consequence of the political inaction of your government,” the letter said. “At a time when the threat posed by dangerous Islamists has greatly increased, you have failed to push ahead with expanding resources and reforming the confused official structures for fighting these dangers.”



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