According to German media outlet Tagesschau, two teenagers, a German-Afghan dual national and Russian national have been arrested after being caught planning a terrorist attack on Christmas festivities in Cologne, Germany.
Authorities were alerted to the threat after the Afghan dual national posted a video to his Telegram page calling for violence and a “holy war”. The 15-year-old German-Afghan lives in Burscheid near Leverkusen in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) told Tagesschau “the video featured ”a young person is said to have called for a “holy war” against the West and announced a terrorist attack in Germany for Friday, December 1st.””
According to Tagesschau the Afghan arranged to meet a 16-year-old Russian from Wittstock in Brandenburg and discussed an Islamist terrorist attack involving incendiary devices or a small truck on a Christmas market or a synagogue in Cologne. The Afghan national has been identified as an Islamic State operative who has spread jihadist propaganda in the past and has been known to police.
Yesterday, police searched the homes of the two teens and arrested them under suspicions of terrorism. The Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Neuruppin Public Prosecutor’s Office are treating this as a conspiracy to commit terrorism.
The BfV is attributing this and other instances of terrorism propaganda and potential planning not only to the Quran burnings in Sweden and the Netherlands but also Western support to Israel in the current Gaza War.
Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) told the publication that: ”The flood of digital images on social media, often paired with fake news, contributes to emotionalization and can act as a radicalization factor…We have been observing the declared desire of Islamists to carry out attacks in the West for some time, and I have repeatedly emphasized that an Islamist attack can be carried out in Germany any day.”