Police officials announced at approximately 17:50 (local time) on Friday, December 1, that a suspected explosive device has been successfully neutralized by a controlled demolition in Potsdam’s city center. According to media reports, a suspicious package with wires protruding from it was discovered at a pharmacy. Authorities evacuated a nearby Christmas market after police officers arrived on the scene. A police spokesman said that it is not clear what the device was made of or who planted it; an investigation is ongoing.
Authorities have increased security measures across at Christmas markets across the country due to concerns over an increased risk of terrorist activity during the busy holiday season.
Terrorism continues to be a chief public concern throughout Germany in the wake of various attacks that have targeted Europe in recent years. This generalized terrorist threat rises during holiday periods, particularly around high-profile events or wherever large numbers of people tend to congregate. On December 19, 2016, a truck deliberately drove into crowds at an outdoor Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring another 56; the perpetrator was allegedly inspired by the Islamic State.
Individuals in Potsdam are advised to obey all instructions issued by the local authorities, remain vigilant, and report any suspicious behavior or objects to the authorities.