BERLIN — Three extra individuals had been detained Sunday in reference to a reported risk of an assault on the Cologne Cathedral over the vacations, German authorities stated.
The detentions got here solely days after a 30-year-old Tajik man was detained in relation to an alleged plot to assault the world-famous cathedral by Islamic extremists within the western German metropolis.
The suspects had been detained within the western cities of Duisburg, Herne and Dueren within the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and their flats had been additionally searched there. No particulars about their identities had been launched.
The entire detained suspects — together with the Tajik who was arrested final week — allegedly belong to a bigger community that included individuals throughout Germany and in different European nations, in accordance with Cologne police chief Johannes Hermanns, German information company dpa reported.
The assault was purported to have been carried out with a automotive loaded with explosives, native media reported.
Cologne police stated in a Sunday information convention that the cathedral’s underground parking storage had been searched and that explosives detection canines had been deployed — however nothing was discovered. For the reason that early morning, the doorway and exit of the underground storage had additionally been checked for suspicious exercise.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Inside Minister Herbert Reul referred to as the newest detentions a “success, for which I wish to thank the investigators.”
Islamic extremists have all the time been lively, however they’re at the moment extra lively than ordinary and the Catholic cathedral was a main goal for them, Reul stated, in accordance with dpa. “The police all the time attempt to be just a few steps forward,” he added.
Police had obtained details about a deliberate militant assault on Cologne Cathedral shortly earlier than Christmas. The assault was to be carried out on New 12 months’s Eve.
Town’s world-famous cathedral has been below excessive safety for per week and the risk led to the closure of the home of worship for vacationers since Christmas Eve.
Normally, greater than 100,000 vacationers go to the cathedral within the final week of the yr. In latest days, solely worshippers had been allowed to enter the constructing for Mass, however they needed to undergo thorough safety checks involving sniffer canines.
On Sunday night, round 1,000 cops had been on obligation across the cathedral as revelers started celebrating the top of 2023.
Reul, the state inside minister, inspired individuals to have fun and never keep at residence regardless of the assault risk.
“Islamist terror continues to be a risk on German streets,” he stated. “We’ve got usually suppressed that. And at any time when there’s a one-off occasion like this, we’re all very electrified once more.”
Nevertheless, it could be unsuitable to panic, stated Reul. “I say: Rejoice! Behave yourselves! Take care — and benefit from the transition into the brand new yr.”