Police have arrested two young people in North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack. They had announced their attack for December 1st. It is not yet clear how serious the plans were.
The police have arrested two young people in North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg who are said to have planned an Islamist terrorist attack. As security circles reported on Wednesday, the 15-year-old main suspect and a 16-year-old were said to have discussed their intention to carry out an attack on supposed “infidels”. WDR and “Tagesspiegel” first reported on the suspicion.
The 15-year-old from North Rhine-Westphalia is said to have considered a synagogue and a Christmas market as possible destinations. According to NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU), the young people are said to have agreed on a specific Christmas market as the target of the attack. “A young man wrote in a chat group about attack plans. In the end, they agreed on a very specific attack plan on a Christmas market. It seemed very concrete,” said the CDU politician on Wednesday evening in Düsseldorf. The reference to the young people came from abroad.
Christmas market in Leverkusen probably target
As security circles reported on Wednesday evening, the suspected target of the attack was a Christmas market in Leverkusen. RTL West and WDR also reported on this. In addition, it was said that the seriousness of the plans was initially unclear. However, since the 15-year-old is said to have recently named a specific date and a public place, the police intervened on Tuesday to be on the safe side.
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The Leverkusen district court issued an arrest warrant against the 15-year-old on Wednesday. He is accused of planning and preparing an Islamist terrorist attack. According to Reul, he is German-Afghan. He was therefore arrested in Burscheid on Tuesday.
Young people arrested on suspicion of terrorism
The Ministry of the Interior there announced that the 16-year-old arrested in Brandenburg was a young person of Russian nationality who was specifically suspected of having prepared an attack. The arrest took place in the small town of Wittstock/Dosse in the northwest of Brandenburg. It was initially unclear whether he was also taken into custody. According to “Tagesspiegel” information, the 16-year-old is considered to be fond of weapons. He and his brother are extremely violent. According to the “Tagesspiegel”, he had a knife with him when he was arrested.
According to WDR information, the 15-year-old arrested in North Rhine-Westphalia is said to have announced a terrorist attack in Germany for Friday (December 1st) in a video distributed on Telegram. According to WDR information, both young people are considered sympathizers of the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS).
Memories of the attack on Breitscheidplatz
The fact that the two young people are said to have had a Christmas market in mind is reminiscent of the attack on December 19, 2016 on Breitscheidplatz in Berlin. At that time, an Islamist terrorist drove into the Christmas market in a hijacked truck. A total of 13 people died as a result of the crime, one of them as a result years later.
Before the two arrests were announced, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution announced on Wednesday that, against the backdrop of the Middle East conflict, the risk of possible terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli people and institutions as well as against “the West” had recently increased significantly. However, the greatest danger in this country does not come from supporters of Hamas or the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, who hold back from making public statements.
Rather, terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State appear to be increasingly succeeding in inciting primarily young people by portraying the victims of Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip and the humanitarian emergency in the Palestinian territory as part of a supposedly anti-Muslim Western strategy. In Duisburg, for example, an Islamist threat was arrested at the end of October following indications of a possible attack scenario.
Note: This article has been updated several times.
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