Germany's news in English

Editions:  Europe · Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

Germany carries out largest terrorism drill to date

Share this article

Germany carries out largest terrorism drill to date
Officers during the terrorismtraining exercise at Cologne/Bonn Airport. Photo: DPA
09:08 CET+01:00
To onlookers it appeared to be a terrifying scene. But luckily, the action at Cologne/Bonn airport was a terrorism drill, involving around 1000 police officers who created the emergency scenario.
A loud detonation shakes Terminal 1 of the Cologne/Bonn Airport, then shots are fired. What happened here on Tuesday night is fortunately only an exercise: several heavily armed terrorists shoot at travellers with assault rifles, people run screaming for their lives, injured and dead people lie bleeding on the ground. 
The first police officers arrive quickly, and within a few minutes the attackers are overwhelmed. "All perpetrators neutralized," reports the trainer in his headset.
At the largest anti-terror exercise to date at a German airport, around 1000 police officers rehearsed the emergency. An Islamic-motivated terrorist attack is simulated, carried out by a group of militarily trained perpetrators with the aim of killing as many people as possible.
The exercise on Tuesday. Photo: DPA
According to the police, there are currently no concrete indications of attack plans, but such a scenario is conceivable at any time in view of the increased danger situation in Germany, and across Europe.
"It is important that we are as well prepared as possible in the event of an actual attack," says Wolfgang Wurm, President of the Sankt Augustin Federal Police Headquarters.
The fictitious scenario was developed from the findings of the attacks in Belgium and France and is very realistic, says Wurm. None of the practicing policemen knows exactly what to expect.
There are many "normal" patrol officers who are on the move at the airport every day: In an emergency, they would be the first on the scene. But special units are also involved in training. Around 300 extras mimed injured, dead and panic-stricken travellers. Chaos was everywhere.
Although this is an exercise, experience has shown that the colleagues are very tense and fully present in the situation, stressed Wurm. "This is also an exceptional situation for experienced civil servants. They have several dead bodies around them - and if they're not careful, they can be the next dead themselves."
The exercise will also test the interaction between the various authorities: State and federal police as well as customs are involved. "Only with such exercises can we check whether all the beautiful deployment concepts that we have written are also useful in practice," says Deputy Police Commissioner Miriam Brauns.
German police regularly train for these kinds of situations, amid the rising terror situation. In March this year, dozens of police took part in a simulation in Frankfurter main station which involved explosions.
Wurm is satisfied after the first exercise block. "Although the colleagues registered the injured, they first clarified the situation before they were cared for. First you have to be sure that there are no more perpetrators lurking and start a second attack.”
Details of the exercise will be evaluated in the next few days. If mistakes were made during the test run, this is not bad, Brauns emphasizes. "On the contrary. We can learn from this and improve our processes."
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Roger Brady - 21 Nov 2018 20:13
“According to the police, there are currently no concrete indications of attack plans, but such a scenario is conceivable at any time in view of the increased danger situation in Germany, and across Europe.”. Oh really? When, how and why, exactly, did the ‘increased danger' happen? Who was chiefly to blame for it?
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.

From our sponsors

VIDEO: Three surprising facts that will make you want to visit Malta

Game of Thrones has ended but it lives on in Malta! Find out how and learn two more unexpected facts about this little archipelago in the middle of the Med.