Saturday, March 11, 2017
The Limbecker Platz shopping center in the western German city of Essen has remained shut on Saturday after a warning of a possible terror attack. Two people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
About a hundred armed police and vans surrounded and sealed off the Limbecker Platz shopping mall in Essen early on Saturday after receiving what they said was a credible threat of a terror attack.
Security services cited by the German tabloid newspaper "Bild" described the threat as a potential multiple suicide bombing.
As well as the mall, nearby parking garages and an underground rail station were all placed in lockdown.
"Yesterday, we received very serious indications from security sources that a possible attack was planned here for today and would be carried out," a spokesman for Essen police told the Reuters news agency."That is why we were forced to take these measures."
Police later ordered the shopping center, one of the biggest in Germany, to remain closed for the rest of Saturday, adding they now believed they had foiled an attack.
Two arrests made
Two men in the nearby town of Oberhausen were arrested in connection with the threat. One was questioned after a police search of an apartment in the town. Another was taken in for questioning from a nearby internet cafe.
According to its website, the Limbecker Platz shopping center has more than 200 stores and attracts up to 60,000 people on a regular Saturday.
Germany remains on edge following a series of attacks over the past year, including when a failed Tunisian asylum seeker drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market in December, killing 12 people.
Last July, a German-Iranian man, who police say was obsessed with mass murderers, shot dead nine people at a Munich shopping mall before turning the gun on himself.
The "Islamic State" (IS) armed group has claimed responsibility for attacks in Germany in the past year, including the murder of a teen in Hamburg, a suicide bombing in Ansbach and an ax rampage on a train in Würzberg that injured five.