What is the current terror threat in Germany?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
What is the current terror threat in Germany?
Police evacuate a Christmas market in Göppingen near Stuttgart on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 - after a terror threat was called in. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/SDMG | Kohls

Police in Germany are on heightened alert for terror threats after a German tourist was killed in Paris over the weekend, and in the aftermath of the October 7th attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians.


Following recent events, police in Germany have upped patrols around Christmas markets in Germany in particular, with some threats having been called in in recent days as people in Germany gather outdoors to celebrate the festive season.

The threat level in Germany remains "serious", according to the Interior Ministry, which says Islamist terror attacks - particularly against "soft" targets like Christmas markets - are currently the country's top terror threat. Germany hasn't officially raised its terror threat level - although neighbouring countries such as Austria have.

Last week, Thomas Haldenwang, the President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which monitors extremism in Germany, cautioned that the risk of Islamist attacks is "real and higher than it has been for a long time", particularly due to recent events in Israel and Gaza.

READ ALSO: Germany warns of 'real' risk of Islamist attacks over Israel-Hamas war

On Saturday in Göppingen, just east of Stuttgart, police evacuated a Christmas market after a threat was called in. Nothing suspicious was found and officers are now looking for the caller. Police are advising that pranksters should expect severe penalties to compensate for lost revenue from stand operators – and that pranks divert resources necessary to investigate genuine threats.

Still though, German Police Union Chair Jochen Kopelke told Tagesschau that officers have arrested terror suspects and are particularly concerned about Islamist groups like al-Qaeda or Islamic State using recent events in the Israel-Palestine conflict to mobilise their followers in Germany.

Two suspects arrested in November were said to have discussed attacking a Christmas market in Leverkusen – bringing back memories of the 2016 attack on the Breitscheidplatz market in Berlin – when an ISIS militant drove a truck into the market and killed 12 people.

READ ALSO: Five years after Berlin attack, Germany remembers its victims


Another suspect was arrested in November for allegedly planning an attack on a Christmas market in Hanover.

Ahead of the conference of interior ministers from the federal state with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, Kopelke told Tagesschau police need more compensation for the extra shifts needed to secure Christmas markets – and that video surveillance should be put in at the venues.

Kopelke also encouraged citizens to be on alert.

“Have no fear, but pay attention. All citizens can help, for example by alerting police early if you see something suspicious,” he said.

Although recent numbers show that over 80 percent of anti-Semitic attacks in Germany are carried our by far-right extremists, the share perpetrated by Islamist extremists has risen markedly recently - according to German intelligence.

At the same time, agencies note a rise in anti-Semitic violence perpetrated by the far-right, particularly following October 7th, which has seen Holocaust memorials in Germany defaced and threats made to synagogues.

READ ALSO: Germany sees over 1,100 offences linked to Israel-Hamas conflict


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