Germany launched a major police operation today. Some 500 police officers swooped into houses all over the country in dawn raids arresting several terrorist members of ISIS which were planning an attack.
The most important catch was a group of six Syrian refugees that were in the final stages of preparing a terror attack. According to a local German radio station, the Hessischer Rundfunk, citing sources close to the arresting officers, the six men were aged 20 to 28 and "had planned an attack on the Christmas market in Essen", a city in western Germany.
Though police did not confirm this, their spokesman, Mr Christian Hartwig on behalf of the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office, did say that those men were part of "the foreign terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State."
"The accused are also suspected of preparing an attack on a public target in Germany using weapons or explosives."
Any attack on a German Christmas market at this time of year would be reminiscent of last December's truck rampage in Berlin, where a failed Tunisian asylum seeker drover a truck into a crowded Christmas market, killing 12 people.
As stated, police and prosecutors declined to comment on reports citing Essen's Christmas market as the target (which also appeared in Germany's best-selling Bild newspaper).
According to another German daily, Die Welt, fellow refugees had tipped off the police about the suspects.
Currently, German security forces estimate there are some 10,300 radical Islamists in Germany of who 700 are considered dangerous and capable of a violent attack.
The news could not come at a worse time for German Chancellor Merkel who just had to call off negotiations over the formation of a new government. In the last election, her Conservative party lost a large part of her electorate to the nationalist AfD.
Political journalists fear for a new round of elections in Germany.