German police have destroyed a suspected improvised explosive device in Potsdam, a small city on the outskirts of the nation’s capital, Berlin.
A local report said the suspicious package was delivered Friday to a pharmacy near a Christmas market. Police were called and the area was evacuated.
Brandenburg state police said they inspected the package and confirmed that it was a possible IED that was successfully defused. Reports said the package contained nails and some kind of powder.
Brandenburg state Interior Minister Karl-Heinz Schroeter told reporters the powder will be analyzed. He said it is not clear whether the package was a real weapon.
Streets in the area were closed off as the 40-by-50-centimeter device was destroyed in a controlled explosion.
Police warn that there may be more such packages in the area.
The incident takes on special significance in light of last year’s deadly terror attack on a Christmas market in a wealthy shopping area of Berlin. On December 19, 2016, a hijacked truck driven by a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia went off the road and into the market held near a historic church on the Kurfurstendamm shopping avenue. The incident left 12 people dead and dozens more injured..
Security measures were in the spotlight as Berlin’s Christmas markets officially opened on Monday. A temporary memorial to the victims of last year’s attack is set to be replaced by a permanent one on December 19, at the historic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on the site of the market that was attacked.
Potsdam, a small but historic city, is the capital of Brandenburg state. It lies about 40 kilometers southwest of Berlin.