A Christmas market in Germany was the subject of an attempted bombing by a 12-year-old boy, German prosecutors said on Friday.
The authorities are investigating whether a 12-year-old boy made a bomb and planted it at a traditional Christmas market in his hometown in southwestern Germany. A passerby spotted it and called police.
A previous attempt by the boy to set off a bomb at a local Christmas market November 26 had failed, authorities said.
A report in Focus magazine said there was evidence the child wanted to travel to Syria to join the militant terrorist cause.
According to local broadcaster SWR, the boy had been in contact with Islamic State members and received instructions via the Telegram messaging service.
Focus reported that the device found on December 5 was a glass jar packed with nails and material from firecrackers.
Eva Lohse, the mayor of Ludwigshafen, a small city in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said city representatives met Friday with state security officials to discuss the case. Last week, police arrested two youths, ages 15 and 17, on suspicion of plotting an attack on a public institution in the southern city of Aschaffenburg.
In another case, a 16-year-old German-Moroccan girl in February stabbed a police officer in the neck with a kitchen knife, wounding him badly, allegedly on ISIS orders.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the news is "a startling case to everyone".
"Security officials are checking whether ISIS is targeting children and adolescents for potential terror attacks in Germany and Europe because they are least expected to commit violent acts", Elmar Thevessen, deputy editor-in-chief and terrorism expert at German public news outlet ZDF, told NBC.