'Islamist Terror Threat' Shuts Down Largest Festival in Northern Germany

Police cancel carnival that was expected draw 250,000 to Braunschweig over 'concrete danger' of attack.

Oliver Pietschmann
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A woman dressed up for carnival talks to a policeman in Braunschweig, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015.
A woman dressed up for carnival talks to a policeman in Braunschweig, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015.Credit: AP
Oliver Pietschmann

DPA - Police in the northern German city of Braunschweig canceled the annual carnival procession shortly before it was due to begin on Sunday over fears of a terrorist attack.

A police spokesman said they had received the information during the night and investigated it Sunday morning.

"Reliable state security sources" informed the police about "a concrete danger" of an attack with an "Islamist background," the spokesman said.

The carnival, known as the "Schoduvel," is the largest in northern Germany and was expected to draw a crowd of 250,000 to Braunschweig, also known in English as Brunswick, with 4,500 participants in the procession and some 100 floats this year.

Braunschweig's police chief Michael Pientka told German public radio NDR that there was no connection to the terror attacks in Copenhagen, Denmark, where an attacker killed two men this weekend, one at a free speech event and the other at a synagogue.

Carnival parades planned for Monday in the cities of Mainz, Cologne and Dusseldorf will go ahead as planned, but with added police vigilance, officials said.

Immediately before the carnival was canceled, the German interior ministry had reacted to Saturday's terrorist attacks in Copenhagen by saying there was no elevated risk of an attack in Germany.

As always, there was an abstract level of danger, a ministry spokeswoman in Berlin told dpa. "But we do not have any concrete indications of attack plans in Germany," she stressed. "The situation is unchanged."

She added that German security authorities were in contact with their Danish counterparts, but as investigations in Copenhagen were ongoing, it was too early to draw any conclusions with regard to Germany.

Two people were killed and five injured in the Copenhagen attack before police shot dead the suspected attacker on Sunday morning.

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