A 12-year-old boy was suspected of planning two bomb attacks in western German city of Ludwigshafen, a local prosecutor confirmed it on Friday. The boy targeted a local Christmas market on November 26 and the area near the city hall on December 5 with explosives but he failed both times.
The state prosecutor, Hubert Ströber confirmed the report and said the devices were found with explosives from the two locations in Ludwigshafen.
At a press conference, the mayor of Ludwigshafen Eva Lohse told that the city representatives on Friday met with state security officials to discuss the case. “The 12-year-old who is accused of plotting a bomb attack in Ludwigshafen is in a secure place, so that he does not pose any danger,” the mayor said.
Judicial and police sources said the boy was born in 2004 with dual German and Iraqi nationality. Local media reported there is a chance that the boy strongly radicalised by the Islamic State (IS).
The prosecutor said the boy is now staying at the local youth office and is not charged due to his age.
According to the German law, minors under the age of 14 cannot be charged with crimes. So the investigators inspect the boy’s friends, family and acquaintances for the sake of the minor.
On November 26, his first target was city’s Christmas market. But his attempt was failed. The magazine Focus could not confirm what material he used to make the bomb.
He planned the second attack on December 5. It is suspected that the 12-year-old left a backpack containing a jar of explosive materials and nailed it outside the city hall. The building is partly a shopping centre. A passerby noticed the suspicious backpack and informed the authorities. They were able to dispose of it safely.
After they found the backpack, police evacuated the area around the Rathaus-Center complex. Next day police reported, “A 12-year-old German-Iraqi had placed a glass with pyrotechnical substances in a black bag into a garbage can near the centre.”
The analysts later discovered that the jar was filled with different types of fireworks which were flammable but would not have exploded.
The local public broadcaster SWR reported might be the boy received instructions from IS members about how to build the device through the messenger app, Telegram.
The report was not confirmed but if it is true then a pattern of IS attacks in Germany can be found.
A 15-year-old girl stabbed a police officer in Hanover in February and said she was acting in the name of IS. In July, a 17-year-old boy, believed to be an Afghan refugee attacked passengers on the train with an axe and injured 5 people. In the same month, a 27-year-old Syrian man exploded a backpack bomb in Ansbach, killing himself and injuring 15. They both claimed to be motivated by IS.
A professor at King’s College London and the director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, Peter Neumann wrote on Twitter, “The very young age of the alleged attacker is unusual, but not totally surprising. It has to do with the low level of requirements of Islamic State: slogans instead of complicated ideologies, computer games and gangster motives, images of strength and power.”