Police in western Germany have arrested two brothers from Kosovo over a suspected plot to carry out an attack against the CentrO shopping mall in Oberhausen, where a popular Christmas market is taking place.
The two men – ages 28 and 31 – were arrested in Duisburg at about 12:45 a.m. local time on Friday, just hours after police in Oberhausen deployed heavily-armed officers at the CentrO shopping mall and the adjacent Christmas market.
A brief statement from Essen police said the two brothers are suspected of having possibly prepared an attack on the mall, though it did not specify whether the alleged terror plot targeted the shopping mall or the busy Christmas market outside.
“At this time, it is urgently being determined how advanced the preparations were and whether any other persons are involved,” police said.
Officers were deployed at the mall and the Christmas market from 6 p.m. on Thursday, though police at the time had declined to say why. “In civilian clothes and in uniform they controlled the area, clearly visible to visitors and customers,” police said in Friday’s statement.
Other details about the alleged plot were not immediately released and there was no word on whether there is any connection to Monday’s truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, which left 12 people killed and dozens more injured. The suspect in the attack – 24-year-old Anis Amri – is still at large.
The CentrO shopping mall in Oberhausen is home to more than 250 stores, making it the largest mall in Germany. It is just north of Düsseldorf, or about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the border with the Netherlands.
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