German-French border controls tightened as search for Christmas market shooter continues

Following a deadly attack near a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Tuesday evening, the German federal police put up controls at several border crossings from Germany to France.

German-French border controls tightened as search for Christmas market shooter continues
Police in the city of Kehl control all cars going from Germany to France on Tuesday night. Photo: DPA

According to a police spokesperson on Wednesday morning, officers are on duty in the German cities of Kehl, Iffezheim, Breisach and Rheinau in Baden-Württemberg. Commuters and others travelling from Germany to France will likely be faced with waiting times of up to 90 minutes.

It is unclear how long the controls will last. “We are dependent on our colleagues in France. As long as the situation is not cleared up, we will continue to monitor,” the police spokesman said.

The attack in Strasbourg on Tuesday around 8 p.m. near a famous Christmas market in the centre of the city killed three people, according to the Interior Ministry.  It has now been revealed that one of the victims was a tourist from Thailand.

French Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said a terrorist motive had not yet been determined, in an interview on Wednesday, reported Focus Online. However, that line of inquiry is being investigated. 

Current information details that a further 14 people were injured, eight of them seriously. Among those who have died and been injured “to the best of our knowledge, there are no Germans,” reported the Crisis Reaction Centre of the Federal Foreign Office on Twitter.

The Christmas market is closed Wednesday.

Strasbourg, the seat of the European Parliament, is situated directly on the German border. It is located across from the city of Kehl in western Baden-Württemberg along the Rhine river.

It's not only road traffic, but also public transport that's being checked. This includes the cross-border tram D, which was completely shut down during the night, but is now running again.

According to the police, the pedestrian and cyclist bridge Passerelle des Deux Rives between Kehl and Strasbourg is also being checked.

Asked on French radio whether the suspect could have fled into Germany, Strasbourg’s mayor said that “The border is in principle closed” but that is is still possible, reported FOCUS Online.

Suspect convicted in Germany

According to French media reports, the alleged perpetrator is a 29-year-old man who was born in Strasbourg.

The French Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, had announced last night that the man was known to the police and had already been convicted of crimes in France and Germany. He was also known as a potential threat.

The perpetrator is presumably wounded and on the run and is being searched for by several helicopters and hundreds of police officers.

The shooting happened in the surroundings of the Christmas market, which attracts thousands of tourists from around the world every year.

SEE ALSO: What we know so far about the Stasbourg Christmas market shooting

Castaner did not describe the exact crime scene in more detail, but said the perpetrator had spread “terror” in three different places in the city.

Between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. he had twice exchanged gunfire with soldiers on patrol, and according to media reports he was injured.

The attack that took place in the run up to Christmas has shocked the world.

“We are deeply shocked by the attack in Strasbourg and condemn this cowardly act,” wrote German foreign minister Heiko Maas on Twitter.

“Shocked about the horrible news from Strasbourg,” wrote Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for Angela Merkel, on Twitter. “Whichever motive is behind the shooting: We mourn the dead and are with our thoughts and wishes with the injured.”

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Lebkuchen: Gingerbread is Germany’s favourite Christmas treat in 2020

Not chocolate, not Spekulatius - Gingerbread is officially Germany’s favourite Christmas treat, according to a new study.

Lebkuchen: Gingerbread is Germany’s favourite Christmas treat in 2020
Photo: DPA

Anyone who has spent any time in Germany at Christmas would know that sweets, baked treats and chocolates are a central component of the celebrations. 

But in the not-so-official Christmas rankings of the favourite sweet staple, gingerbread has come out on top, according to a study completed by German opinion researcher YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency. 

Gingerbread took out top spot with 54 percent support, followed by spiced shortbread biscuit Spekulatius (Speculaas) with 50 percent. 

Chocolate Santa Clauses came in third at 41 percent, followed by Stollen (39 percent) and cinnamon stars (33 percent). 

Gingerbread, known as Lebkuchen (life cake) in German, has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. 

In 2013, some were concerned that the traditional baked cake had lost its lustre, after a sharp decline in sales

The rebound in popularity shows however that there still is life in the old cake, after all. 

Yougov opinion research institute surveyed almost 2,100 people aged 18 and over a few days before Christmas.