Device found near German market was not terror-related, police say

Germans slam Merkel for 'political inaction' in Fight Against Terrorism

Germans slam Merkel for 'political inaction' in Fight Against Terrorism

A suspicious package containing nails that led to a bomb scare at a Christmas market in Germany was part of a blackmailing plot against a delivery company, German authorities said Sunday.

The package triggered the evacuation of a popular Christmas market in downtown Potsdam on Friday afternoon.

Brandenburg state's police president, Hans-Jürgen Mörke, said investigators had spent Saturday reassembling a piece of paper with a QR code, which had been torn to shreds during the controlled explosion of the parcel.

The German logistics market leader, which is part of Deutsche Post, delivered 1.2bn parcels in the country past year, including 8.4m packages on its Christmas peak day alone.

"The good news is it that we can say, with all likelihood, that the package was not aimed at the Christmas market", said Brandenburg's Interior Minister, Karl-Heinz Schröter. The item contained a QR code, which can be scanned with a mobile device to reveal information.

A pharmacist sounded the alert after finding a canister with wires inside the package.

After the Friday incident, police initially reported that it did not find a detonator and that the box likely contained no explosives, indicating it was a fake bomb.

A suspicious package found in a Potsdam Christmas market has been confirmed to be an act of criminal activity rather than terrorism.

In that case, a parcel bomb was also sent to a local company but just caught fire when opened. The detonation may have have been avoided due to sheer luck.

It is unlikely that the market itself was a target, said Mr Schroeter.

An online company in the town of Frankfurt an der Oder received a similar package at the beginning of last month.

Authorities said the people who sent the package most likely lived in Berlin or in the state of Brandenburg, which surrounds the German capital.

According to the police, such packages may have unclear, missing or unfamiliar information on who sent it, spelling mistakes, protruding wires or smudges on the container.

DHL warned the public not to open packages if they did not recognize the sender's address or if the sender's address was suspicious.

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