Germany shuts down shopping mall over attack threat

Policemen with a sniffer dog stand in front of the “Limbecker Platz” shopping centre in Essen, western Germany, after a terror warning on March 11, 2017. The shopping centre will stay closed the whole day for security reasons, as police got concrete hints of a possible terror attack.Bernd Thissen / dpa / AFP

German police ordered a shopping centre in the central city of Essen shut on Saturday, citing the threat of an attack, less than a year after a deadly shooting spree in another mall in Munich.

“The shopping centre will be closed all Saturday due to security concerns. The police has concrete information regarding a possible attack,” local police said in a statement published on social media.

The alert only referred to the Limbecker Platz in downtown Essen, the police said, adding that parking garages and the nearest underground rail station had also been closed.

They did not describe the nature of the threat, but said an investigation was under way.

Germany is on high alert following the Christmas market carnage in Berlin last December, in which an Islamic State jihadist rammed a truck into a crowd of pedestrians, killing 12 people.

Last July, a German-Iranian who police say was obsessed with mass murderers including a Norwegian right-wing fanatic shot dead nine people at a Munich shopping mall before turning the gun on himself.

Domestic security officials estimate there are some 10,000 radical Islamists in German, with roughly 1,600 among them suspected of being capable of violence.

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