German Christmas market closed after suspicious package found


German police have evacuated a Christmas market in the city of Potsdam following reports about an explosive device planted nearby.

The suspicious package was handed into a Potsdam pharmacy at about 2.30pm on Friday.

They evacuated the area around the city centre Christmas market to examine the package.

What was found in the suspicious package?

The package contained nails, powder and a firecracker, but it's not clear if it was a functioning explosive device.

Brandenburg state Interior Minister Karl-Heinz Schroeter told reporters the powder will be analyzed.

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Streets in the area were closed off as the 40-by-50-centimeter device was destroyed in a controlled explosion.

"The investigations are still just beginning", Schröter said, adding that the powder might be a fake created to look like a bomb.

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 a year ago.

On December 19th, 2016, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker and Islamic State sympathiser, Anis Amri (24), stole an articulated lorry and ploughed into booths in the market.

Security measures were in the spotlight as Berlin's Christmas markets officially opened on Monday. The suspect later died in a shootout with police in Italy.