BERLIN — Officials evacuated a Christmas market in Potsdam on Friday evening after a suspicious package was found nearby, reviving fears that the country’s popular holiday tradition remained vulnerable despite increased security after a terror attack on a market in Berlin last year.
A small package with wires sticking out was delivered to a pharmacy across the street from the market on Friday afternoon, the local news media reported. Police X-rayed the box and said it contained a large cylinder in which nails were visible. Experts then destroyed the box in a controlled explosion, officials said.
No injuries were reported, and the top security official for the state of Brandenburg, Interior Minister Karl-Heinz Schröter, said authorities were still trying to determine whether the package could have detonated, and whether it was intended for the pharmacy or the market.
“The evaluation and analysis is just beginning now,” Mr. Schröter told reporters.
Authorities said that they had no indication of terrorism or any other motive, but parts of the market and the surrounding streets remained sealed off on Friday night as they continued their investigation.
The scare recalled memories of the Dec. 19 attack on a Christmas market in western Berlin, in which a Tunisian man hijacked a truck and drove it into the stands, killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others. The assailant, Anis Amri, was killed in a shootout with police in Italy four days later.
As a result of that attack, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, the authorities increased security at Christmas markets this season. They are surrounded with concrete barriers, and more officers are patrolling among the stands, which sell handicrafts, sweets and small gifts.