Two teens arrested for plotting Islamist terrorist attack at German Christmas market

On Wednesday, German authorities arrested two teens on suspicion of plotting an Islamist terrorist attack on a Christmas market in western Germany.

Prosecutors said that the two boys, ages 15 and 16, allegedly devised a plan to carry out an attack at a Christmas market in Leverkusen in early December. Their plans included using fuel to blow up a small truck, according to the Associated Press.

The 15-year-old boy, a German-Afghan from Burscheid, was detained in a town near Cologne on Wednesday, while the 16-year-old accomplice, described as a Russian national, was arrested in Brandenburg. The minor suspects have not yet been identified.

The pair are said to have plotted the attack on the messaging app Telegram, authorities said. The BBC reports that they also allegedly discussed using homemade incendiary devices.

According to prosecutors, the 15-year-old claimed he had acquired gasoline for the attack. Investigators are looking at evidence found at his home, but did not locate any fuel stocks. He is being held on suspicion of conspiring to commit murder and preparing a serious act of violence.

Officials said the two suspects allegedly planned to leave Germany after the attack to join the Islamic State-Khorasan Province extremist group, which is active in and around Afghanistan, according to AP.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency chief Thomas Haldenwang warned about a heightened threat of Islamist terrorist attacks, saying that the risk is "real and higher than it has been for a long time" because of the Israel-Hamas war.

Furthermore, Haldenwang emphasized the possibility that an attack could occur in Germany at any time. He listed a number of organizations that promote antisemitism, racism, and provocation. Haldenwang said that the potential for attacks on the West and Jewish people and institutions has significantly increased, according to BBC.

The arrests brought back memories of the Berlin incident in December 2016, in which 13 people were killed when a terrorist stole a truck and crashed it into a crowd on Breitscheidplatz.

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