The threat of Islamist terrorism has recently increased in Europe. Over the weekend, a German tourist was killed and two people were injured in Paris. Previously, foiled terrorist attacks by people with radical Islamist views were reported in Germany. That’s why our western neighbors decided to tighten security measures at Christmas markets.
Angel caroling, pretzels, curry wurst and mulled wine, all surrounded by colorful lights and Christmas trees – German Christmas markets have a very long tradition. Germans and tourists love them. – Christmas without fairs is not real Christmas. During the pandemic, it was a complete disaster because they canceled all the fairs. I’m very glad they’re back. I come here every year, says Reiner Peipp, a tourist.
The fair in Nuremberg is one of the oldest, with a history of at least 400 years. Two million people visited it last year. Such a group of people busy with shopping and the festive atmosphere is, unfortunately, also a perfect target for a terrorist attack, and the threat – as it turns out – is very real. At the end of November, the police detained two teenagers planning an attack at a Christmas fair. One of them comes from Afghanistan, the other from Russia.
– The two of them were planning a jihadist attack. In early December, they wanted to attack the fair in Leverkusen by blowing up a small van. Their targets were ordinary people visiting the fair, says Isabel Booz from the prosecutor’s office in Düsseldorf.
This scenario is reminiscent of the attack that occurred seven years ago in Berlin. Then the attacker stole a truck, killed the Polish driver and drove it into the crowd. 11 people died.
Patrols, services and special barriers
Today, there is an increased level of terrorist threat in Germany. The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs indicates the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas as one of the main reasons.
– We see tensions in the Middle East spilling over into the streets. Hate speech is pouring out on the Internet and I can only encourage you to report any example of incitement to violence. We try to remove such publications, says Nancy Faeser.
The services monitor not only the Internet. Fairs in Germany were surrounded by concrete barriers. They are also constantly patrolled by policemen and anti-terrorists.
– I won’t let this sense of danger spoil our mood. It’s such a beautiful, traditional fair, but of course it’s good that the police are here, says Joachim Heller, visiting the fair in Nuremberg. – Everyone thinks about it a bit, but then you get carried away by the atmosphere. You look at all these beautiful stands and forget. Such is life, something unexpected can always happen – adds Konstanze Bossdorf, visiting the fair in Nuremberg.
Terrorists mainly hope that in large crowds and in the pre-Christmas atmosphere, we will lose our vigilance.
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Main photo source: Reuters