Germany cancels carnival parade after receiving Islamist terror threat

A carnival parade in the northern German city of Braunschweig was on Sunday called off just hours before its start following a specific threat of an "attack" from the Islamists, police said.

Berlin: A carnival parade in the northern German city of Braunschweig was on Sunday called off just hours before its start following a specific threat of an "attack" from the Islamists, police said.

Security officials received "concrete information" from "reliable state sources" about plans by "Islamists" to target northern Germany's largest carnival parade, Police Commissioner of Braunschweig Michael Pientka said.

The annual event was cancelled after evaluating the security situation, he said, adding that police has also opened a criminal investigation against a suspect, but no arrests have been made so far.

Pientka, however, drew no link between the cancellation of the event and two fatal shooting attacks in Copenhagen yesterday, which had come just over a month after the Paris attacks that left 17 people dead.

Even though the authorities have been monitoring the "Islamist scene" in Braunschweig and in the state of Lower Saxony, Pientka said, "we never expected plans for this kind of attack".

The warnings indicated that Islamists were planning to strike at the main hub of the parade in the old city of Braunschweig, from where the event was to be telecast live, in order to receive maximum coverage, he said.

Police has so far found no explosive devices in the city.

Pientka said canceling the parade was a difficult decision, but it was necessary in the interest of the participants and the general public.

Over 2,50,000 visitors were expected to watch the parade, according to its organisers.

Germany's largest Carnival parade in Cologne and similar events in Dusseldorf and in Mainz will go ahead as planned, as the authorities have no warnings about any terrorist threat at these places, a spokesman for the interior ministry of the state of North Rhine Westphalia said in Dusseldorf.

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