ESSEN: German police ordered a shopping center in the central city of Essen shut on Saturday, citing the threat of an attack, less than a year after a deadly shooting spree in another mall in Munich.
“The shopping center will be closed all Saturday due to security concerns.
The police has concrete information regarding a possible attack,” local police said in a statement published on social media.
The alert only referred to the Limbecker Platz in downtown Essen, the police said, adding that parking garages and the nearest underground rail station had also been closed.
They did not describe the nature of the threat, but said an investigation was under way.
Germany is on high alert following the Christmas market carnage in Berlin last December, in which a Daesh jihadist rammed a truck into a crowd of pedestrians, killing 12 people.
Last July, a German-Iranian who police say was obsessed with mass murderers including a Norwegian right-wing fanatic shot dead nine people at a Munich shopping mall before turning the gun on himself.
Domestic security officials estimate there are some 10,000 radical Islamists in German, with roughly 1,600 among them suspected of being capable of violence.
At least 10,000 Islamic extremists living within Germany are being supported by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, a shock new report has claimed.
The number of fundamentalists swearing allegiance to the Salafi group in Germany is on rise and Gulf countries have been accused of increasing their support to the terror cell.
German media claimed Berlin’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) have accused Saudi Arabia and Kuwait of funding religious groups and conversion groups, as well as financing the building of mosques and backing hardline imams.
According to a report drafted by the agencies, missionary groups including the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad al-Thani Charitable Association and the Saudi Muslim World League are involved in a “long-running strategy to exert influence” by Gulf nations.
In addition to this, the Kuwaiti Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), an NGO banned by the US and Russia for alleged links to terrorist group Al-Qaeda, has also been blamed for the rising support for fundamentalist Salafi groups in Germany.
RIHS and the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad al-Thani Charitable Association have denied the allegations.
Saudi ambassador Awwas Alawwad also rejected the claims, saying his country has “no connection with German Salafism”.
The news comes after religious group Die Wahre Religion were banned in Berlin following raids of their offices in cities across Germany.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said: “The translations of the Quran are being distributed along with messages of hatred and unconstitutional ideologies…Teenagers are being radicalised with conspiracy theories.
“We don’t want terrorism in Germany… and we don’t want to export terrorism.”
Salafism is an ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam which aspires to emulate the ways of the Prophet Mohammed.
Typically dressed in traditional white robes with long beards and flowing head scarves, followers of the 100-year-old school of thought see Salafi Islam as the purest form of the religion.
Although Salafism embraces Sharia law and the idea of a unified Islamic state, the spectrum of of beliefs within the movement is vast, encompassing both non-violent religious devotion and Salafi Jihadism.
Salafi jihadis represent only around one per cent of the global Muslim population but their destructive influence is well-known – the movement were responsible for the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001, which killed more than 3,000 people.