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Explosive Device Defused At German Christmas Market

Reuters/Zoltan Berta

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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German police defused an explosive device Friday after a Christmas market in Potsdam was evacuated.

A packet containing an improvised explosive device was discovered outside a pharmacy. The market and several businesses were evacuated as police defused the object.

“Suspicions of an unconventional explosive device have been confirmed,” state police said on Twitter.

Authorities have boosted security at Christmas markets around the country after a Tunisian migrant killed 12 people in a truck attack in Berlin last year. Six Syrian men were detained Nov. 21 for allegedly planning an attack against a market in Essen. They were later released due to a lack of evidence.

The number of terrorism-related cases investigated by German authorities have quadrupled over the past year, according to newspaper Welt am Sonntag. (RELATED: Terrorism-Related Cases In Germany Quadruple In One Year)

Prosecutors have opened more than 900 cases so far this year, compared to 240 throughout 2016. Just 80 cases related to terrorism reached the courts in 2013.

Germany’s federal police (BKA) estimates that 705 Islamist extremists are willing to carry out terror attacks, up from 600 during an estimate in February. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV) recently said around 24,400 Islamists are active in the country but most of them don’t pose an immediate terror threat.

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