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‘Radicalised’ boy aged just 15 who planned to ‘kill as many people as possible’ in an Islamist truck ramming attack at a Christmas market is jailed for four years in Germany

  • The boy announced his plans to attack “infidels” in a video posted to a group chat

A 15-year-old boy has been sentenced to four years in prison for planning an Islamist attack on a Christmas market in the German city of Leverkusen.

The teenager wanted to rent a truck and “kill as many people as possible” by ramming it into the traditional market, a court in Cologne has revealed.

The boy began to ‘radicalise’ in the autumn of 2023, the court said. The evidence against him included a video in a chat group in which he announced his plans to attack ‘unbelievers’, with a recognisable Islamist symbol in the background.

He had planned the attack with another teenager who would film it and share the images, the court heard.

The 15-year-old made a “comprehensive confession” during his trial, a court spokesman said.

The other boy, a 16-year-old from Brandenburg, the state surrounding Berlin, will face trial in a different court starting in July.

Islamic extremists have carried out several attacks in Germany in recent years. The deadliest was a truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, which killed twelve people.

More recently, an Islamist motive is suspected in the murder of a police officer in a knife attack on the market square in the city of Mannheim in late May.

The number of people considered extremist Islamists in Germany has fallen slightly from 27,480 in 2022 to 27,200 last year, according to a report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

However, when presenting the report, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said that Germany would “continue to step up the fight against Islamist terrorism.”

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In another case involving teenagers, two boys and two girls, aged 15 and 16, were arrested around Easter this year on suspicion of planning an Islamist attack in the same region of West Germany.

Herbert Reul, interior minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said the young age of the suspects left him “speechless” and that it posed a “huge challenge for the entire society”.

According to the best-selling German daily Bild, the four youths are said to be planning to use Molotov cocktails and knives on behalf of the terrorist organization Islamic State.

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