Suspected bomb at Christmas market destroyed
German police evacuated a popular Christmas market in the city of Potsdam yesterday before destroying a suspicious package containing nails and an unidentified powder in a controlled explosion, officials said.
There were no injuries reported in the evacuation or demolition of the device, and police said it was too early to speculate who may have been behind the package.
Police were alerted at about 2.30pm local time after the package was delivered to a pharmacy on the same street as the Christmas market, and suspicious wires and other items were found inside, police spokesman Peter Meyritz told the 'Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten' newspaper.
Mr Meyritz said the package measured about 40cm by 50cm and was apparently delivered by a messenger service.
The Christmas market was evacuated to allow explosives experts to secure the device and destroy it in place outside the pharmacy in Potsdam, the capital of the state of Brandenburg, just outside of Berlin.
Residents of the street were told to stay in the rear area of their homes while the procedure was carried out.
The package contained nails and a powder, but experts were still trying to determine whether it was real or a hoax, Brandenburg Interior Minister Karl-Heinz Schroeter said.
"If it was really explosive or if it was a fake or a dummy, we will only know through further investigation," he said.
He added that if it turned out that there were explosives in the package, "the next question is whether it was live or not".
Christmas markets are extremely popular in Germany and have increased security this year following the deadly truck attack at a market in downtown Berlin last year.
In that case, a Tunisian man hijacked a truck and drove it into a crowded market, killing 12 people.