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German police defuse bomb near Christmas market

German police defuse bomb near Christmas market

Brandenburg state police said they inspected the package and confirmed that it was a possible IED that was successfully defused.

The device was defused at 5.30pm local time (4.30pm GMT), after police were called three hours before. Potsdam police said it was too soon who may have been responsible.

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

Police say that a suspicious package that caused the evacuation of a Christmas market in the German city of Potsdam contained explosives.

However, police warned of speculation on Twitter and told people to avoid "premature conclusions".

The incident takes on special significance in light of last year's deadly terror attack on a Christmas market in a wealthy shopping area of Berlin.

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

A failed Tunisian asylum seeker drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, killing 12 people and injuring another 56.

Germany is on high alert for militant attacks, almost a year after a Tunisian Islamist rammed a hijacked truck into a Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 11 people as well as the driver.

The package, deposited outside a drugstore, was rendered harmless by police on Friday, according to a tweet from police in Brandenburg, the state of which Potsdam is the capital.