Suspicious package found at German market

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Police say that a suspicious package that caused the evacuation of a Christmas market in the German city of Potsdam contained explosives.

Karl-Heinz Schroeter, interior minister of the state of Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin, said the area would remain shut while police searched with sniffer dogs for any other similar packages. Potsdam police said it was too soon who may have been responsible.

The Reuters agency cited the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten newspaper, which described the package as 40 cm (15.75 inches) by 50 cm large.

The newspaper reportedly said police were alerted around 2.30 p.m. local time when an employee opened the package and found wires and electronics inside. No additional details were immediately available.

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Residents in the same street as the pharmacy were told to stay in the backs of their homes while the explosion on the package which measured around 16 inches by 20 inches (40cm by 50cm) was carried out.

"The investigations are still just beginning", Schröter said, adding that the powder might be a fake created to look like a bomb.

Germany is on high alert for potential terrorist attacks almost a year after a Tunisian Islamist hijacked a truck, killed its driver, and rammed the vehicle into a Christmas market in nearby Berlin, killing 11 more people there. The suspect later died in a shootout with police in Italy.