In connection with the terrorist alarm for Cologne Cathedral, the police remain vigilant even after further suspects have been taken into custody. The cathedral on the Rhine is to be protected by officials until further notice. “There will continue to be security checks at the cathedral,” said a spokesman. How long is currently being examined. Five men had been taken into custody since Christmas Eve. Three of them were released on New Year's Day.
Meanwhile, New Year's Eve, for which the police had prepared with many officers because of indications of a possible Islamist attack plan, passed without incident.
Since Christmas, massively tightened security precautions have been in place around the cathedral in Cologne. The indications of a possible attack scenario had been received shortly before. According to the Cologne police, they were referring to New Year's Eve and the turn of the year. On Christmas Eve, emergency services initially took a 30-year-old Tajik man into custody in Wesel “to avert danger.”
Four more suspects arrived on New Year's Eve. Initially, investigators said they arrested three men aged 25, 30 and 38 that morning in Duisburg, Herne and Nörvenich in the Düren district. They were said to be of Tajik or Uzbek nationality. In the evening, a 41-year-old was taken into custody in Bochum. He has both German and Turkish citizenship, a spokesman said.
On Monday evening, Cologne police announced that three of the four men were at large again. A judge decided this. A 25-year-old Tajik, however, remained in police custody for 14 days "after a thorough examination of the case."
Police speak of a network
The police believe there is a network behind the possible attack plans. She spoke of a “tangle of people from Central Asia.” An attack was supposed to have been carried out with a car, said Cologne police chief Johannes Hermanns on New Year's Eve. According to operations manager Frank Wißbaum, the underground car park under the cathedral was also searched in the hours before the New Year - but nothing was found.
The 30-year-old, who was picked up on Christmas Eve, was taken into so-called long-term custody until January 7th. For the four suspects arrested on New Year's Eve, a judge is now checking how long the custodial measures against them will be maintained, the Cologne police said. Long-term custody has also been requested for them.
Protection for the cathedral
New Year's Eve at Cologne Cathedral remained without any major incidents. Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki celebrated a mass at the end of the year with believers under heavy police protection. The worship participants first had to go through a security gate in tents that were set up in front of the main portal. Large bags or laptops were not allowed into the cathedral.
“I would like to thank our security forces, who began protecting this cathedral in the days before Christmas and also protecting us so that we can celebrate church services and the fundamental right to freely practice religion continues to be guaranteed in our country,” said Woelki Start of the fair.
"After the tip-off about a possible attack scenario for Cologne Cathedral, we did everything in our power to protect the population," said Police Chief Johannes Hermanns. They are happy that people could have celebrated New Year's Eve - "even with increased protective measures."