Pedestrians walk past the closed stalls of the Ludwigshafen, Germany, Christmas market Friday. 2016. A boy, 12, described by investigators as having Islamic State sympathies, allegedly attempted to attack the market and the town hall with a homemade explosive device Photo by Uwe Anspach/European Pressphoto Agency
LUDWIGSHAFEN , Germany, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A boy with Islamic State leanings, 12, is suspected of planting a homemade bomb at a Ludwigshafen, Germany, holiday market, officials said.
Investigators said a backpack containing a glass jar filled with nails and "pyrotechnical material that is used in fireworks" was found in a trash can in Ludwigshafen's Town Hall on Dec. 5. Police defused the device, which was similar to one found in the building on Nov. 26. Neither explosive device detonated. The unidentified suspect allegedly planted both, the International Business Times reported, and is in foster care.
The German Federal Prosecutor is handling the investigation of the incident on a charge of a serious act of violent subversion. Because of German law and the suspect's age, he was not arrested.
The investigators said the boy, of Iraqi descent but born in Germany, was "strongly religiously radicalized" by an "unknown member" of the Islamic State terrorist organization, and intended to travel to Iraq last summer to join IS, NBC News said Friday, citing the German magazine Focus.
"Security officials are checking whether ISIS [the Islamic State] is targeting children and adolescents for potential terror attacks in Germany and Europe because they are least expected to commit violent acts." commented Elmar Thevessen, deputy editor-in-chief of Germany's ZDF public television network. His comments followed a U.S. State Department warning to U.S. citizens in November, warning of credible terrorist threats at holiday festivals and other outdoor events in Europe.
In July, Hans-Georg Maasen, chief of Germany's domestic intelligence agency Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told NBC News, "When you know how ISIS treats children ... then you have to assume that you are dealing with people who are willing to unconditionally torture and kill for ISIS."