Five people have been taken into custody by the German police in connection with an alleged Islamic terrorist plot to detonate explosives at the Cologne Cathedral on New Year’s Eve.
Authorities believe the plan, which involves an assault on the ancient church using vehicle explosives, was hatched last week. A 30-year-old Tajik man was arrested.
Duisburg, Herne, and Dueren are all located in western Germany, and on Sunday, local police in each locale reported the detention of three further individuals. Monday saw a fifth suspect taken into custody: a German-Turkish man aged 41.
According to the Cologne police, the people who were apprehended were part of a more extensive terror network that is active throughout Europe.
Cologne Cathedral is in North Rhine-Westphalia. After the attack’s blueprints were discovered, access to the cathedral was severely restricted. In addition to searching the parking garage for explosives, a thousand police officers were stationed at the church on Sunday.
Building on the cathedral started in 1248 and was worked on for centuries. After completing in 1880, it maintained its title as Northern Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral. After Hamas attacked Israel, authorities throughout the United States and Europe went on high terror alert. There were fears that St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna would be the target of an assault. Austrian police have arrested people in connection with possible terrorist plans.
Last November, Germany’s head of domestic intelligence warned that the danger of Islamist terrorism is “real, and greater than it has been for a long time” due to the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has put the nation on high alert in recent weeks.
The number of antisemitic occurrences in Germany has increased by 320 percent since October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, according to a federal agency’s findings published in late November. An ISIS sympathizer drove a vehicle into a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, killing twelve people and inflicting Germany’s bloodiest strike by Islamist extremists.
In light of ongoing concerns about terrorist attacks, the German government is doing everything possible to ensure its residents are secure during the subsequent New Year’s celebrations.