Germany Investigating Whether 12-Year-Old Boy Planted Bomb at Christmas Market


The authorities are investigating whether a 12-year-old boy made a bomb and planted it at a traditional Christmas market in his hometown in southwestern Germany.

News of the bomb plot was reported on Friday by Focus, a newsmagazine, and quickly dominated airwaves and social media, raising fresh concerns over the potential threats from young people lured by Islamist extremists and radicalized using technology like cellphones. Just this year, three attacks in Germany have been carried out by young people who had claimed to be motivated by the Islamic State; two of the attackers died, and they injured several people but did not kill any.

The boy, identified only as an Iraqi-German of Ludwigshafen, has been placed under the protection of local youth services, officials said on Friday.

German law does not allow minors under the age of 14 to be charged with crimes, which would leave investigators to widen their focus on the boy’s friends, family and acquaintances, while seeking to protect the boy. A spokesman for German federal prosecutors declined on Friday to provide any details about the case, other than to confirm discovery of the device.

“We are investigating a nail bomb that was found in Ludwigshafen,” said the spokesman, Stefan Biehl.

Eva Lohse, the mayor of Ludwigshafen, a small city in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said that city representatives met on Friday with state security officials to discuss the case.

“The 12-year-old who is accused of plotting a bomb attack in Ludwigshafen is in a secure place, so that he does not pose any danger,” the mayor said, declining to comment further.

On Dec. 5, police in Ludwigshafen evacuated the area around the Rathaus-Center complex, which houses shops and the city hall, after an apparent explosive device was found nearby. The next day, the police reported that “a 12-year-old German-Iraqi had placed a glass with pyrotechnical substances in a black bag into a garbage can” near the center.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Melissa Eddy