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German Police Destroy Package Containing Nails, Powder, Firecracker Found At Christmas Market

02 December 2017

Center of Potsdam evacuated after suspicious package found.

Earlier, officers said special forces were examining the object, which was described by the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten newspaper as a package measuring 40cm (15.75in) by 50cm that had been delivered to a pharmacy near the market. An employee opened it, discovered wires, white powder and batteries inside and called the police.

The Christmas market was evacuated to allow explosives experts to secure the device and destroy it in place outside the pharmacy in Potsdam, the capital of the state of Brandenburg, just outside of Berlin.

Police are "currently deployed to central Potsdam because a suspicious package [was found there]", the local police department said in a Twitter post.

Security has been stepped up at all markets across Germany ahead of that anniversary, and the looming first Advent weekend.

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German authorities were already on high alert for an attack on one of the country's famous Christmas markets after 12 people were killed in Berlin previous year.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said this week that Germany had increased information-sharing between federal and state officials and taken other steps to increase security after a series of missteps in the Berlin case.

"The Christmas markets are part of our lives and our culture", he said.

The suspect, Anis Amri, fled to Italy after the December 19 terror attack where he was killed in a shootout with police four days later.

With the Potsdam market closed until further notice, the western Berlin market will close on December 19th, the anniversary of the attack, for a memorial service.

German Police Destroy Package Containing Nails, Powder, Firecracker Found At Christmas Market