German Police Evacuate Christmas Market Due to Suspicious Package
BERLIN—Police have evacuated a Christmas market and the surrounding area in the German city of Potsdam, near Berlin, to investigate a suspicious object, local police said on Twitter on Friday.
Police said special forces were on site to examine the object, which was described by the “Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten” newspaper as a package measuring 40 cm (15.75 inches) by 50 cm that had been delivered to a pharmacy near the market.
Germany is on high alert for potential terrorist attacks nearly a year after a Tunisian Islamist hijacked a truck, killed its driver, and then rammed the vehicle into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 11 more people there.
The newspaper said police were alerted around 14:30 local time after an employee opened the package at the pharmacy and saw suspicious wires and electronics inside.
Christmas markets opened across Germany on Monday at the start of the holiday season, fortified with security staff and concrete barriers to protect shoppers.
Germany has some 2,600 such markets, filled with sparkling Christmas trees and wooden stalls serving candied nuts, sausages, mulled wine, and handicrafts.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere this week said Germany had increased information-sharing between state and federal officials and taken other steps to increase security after a series of missteps on the Berlin case.
An interior ministry spokesman this week said the risk of an attack in Europe and Germany is “continuously high”.