April 13, 2021

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12-Mar-17: ISIS bomb attack on a giant German mall is thwarted

The Limbecker Platz mall on less fraught days [Image Source]

There’s so much news about terrorism that most people pay little attention.

Yes, it’s a sort of paradox but our own experience bears out its truth. Why people tune out reports about terrorist threats, terrorist arrests, victims of the terrorists – those are weighty and troubling questions to which useful, persuasive answers are in short supply. Perhaps they’re part of a work in progress. We can hope.

Likewise the matter of why so many people – especially public figures with political and or law-and-order responsibility – find it hard to even pronounce the word.

Our self-appointed task here is simply to help people have access to some of the information and to aspire towards creating a context that helps them understand how all of this affects us and them.

To Germany.

The Limbecker Platz shopping mall in Essen (population about 600,000) was shut down in its entirety by police yesterday (Saturday). Nearby parking garages as well as an underground rail station were all put into lockdown while sniffer dogs searched the entire area.

“We received very serious indications from security sources that a possible attack was planned here for today and would be carried out,” a spokesman for Essen police told the Reuters news agency. “That is why we were forced to take these measures.” Police later ordered the shopping center, one of the biggest in Germany, to remain closed for the rest of Saturday… [Arrests made following terror threat on Essen shopping center“, Deutsche Welle, today]

The German tabloid newspaper “Bild” detailed the nature of the threat as human bombs – or in their words, a multiple suicide bombing. They say the attack, which they see as the work of Islamic State (ISIS), has now been foiled and that two males in Oberhausen, a nearby community, were arrested last night in connection with the threat. But we saw a different German report that says there is an ongoing search for people connected to the making of an explosive device. And that one of the two men arrested had already been released as of late Saturday night.

Police closed the entire complex down on Saturday [Image Source]

A German who went to Syria to become an ISIS fighter is believed to be the plot’s mastermind. He was – perhaps still is – in contact with people in the Essen area to organize it. He sent them bomb-making instructions via the Internet. The German Press Agency says the two arrested last night were in contact with him but are nonetheless not being treated as intending perpetrators.

The Limbecker Platz mall is a serious enterprise with more than 200 stores and up to 60,000 people flocking to it on a normal Saturday. Germany has many dozens of large-scale malls (here’s a listing of the largest).

For reasons related to why we blog, we have written numerous times about Germany in the past couple of years (click to see some of those earlier posts). Sadly for the Germans, there’s little chance that we will be lacking terrorism-related material about which to write in the foreseeable future.

It’s a country going through some major wrenching changes. An estimated 300,000 migrants arrived in Germany in 2016 [source: The Islamization of Germany in 2016“, Gatestone Institute, January 2, 2017], in addition to the more than one million who arrived in 2015. At least 80% (about 800,000 in 2015; about 240,000 in 2016) of these migrants were Muslim according to the Central Council of Muslims in Germany.

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