5 Detained In Suspected Islamic Terror Plot To Blow Up Cathedral
Police officers are seen with submachine guns and are deployed around the Dom Cathedral during the New Year's Eve celebration in Cologne, Germany, on December 31, 2023. German police have arrested three suspects in connection with an alleged terror attack planned for New Year's Eve at the Cologne Dom Cathedral.
Credit: Photo by Ying Tang/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

German authorities have detained five individuals over a suspected Islamic terror plot to blow up the Cologne Cathedral on New Year’s Eve. 

Police detained a 30-year-old Tajik man in connection with the alleged plan last week, which authorities say was going to involve an attack on the historic church involving car bombs. On Sunday, police announced they had detained three more suspects in the cities of  Duisburg, Herne, and Dueren, all in western Germany. A fifth individual, a 41-year-old German-Turkish man, was detained on Monday. 

Cologne police official Frank Wissbaum said he was glad the suspects were in custody so they could “no longer communicate with each other.” 

Cologne police said that the individuals detained were not plotting alone but linked to a terror network that operates throughout Germany and Europe. Herbert Reul, the interior minister of North Rhine–Westphalia, the state where the cathedral is located, thanked authorities for their “success” in preventing an attack. 

Access to the cathedral was limited following the discovery of plans for the attack. One thousand police officers were stationed at the church on Sunday, and the parking garage was also searched for explosives.

“Islamist terror is still a threat on German streets,” Reul said. “We have often suppressed that. And whenever there is a one-off event like this, we are all very electrified again.”


The Cologne Cathedral is one of the most well-known churches in Germany. Construction began around 1248 and continued intermittently for hundreds of years. It was completed in 1880 and is believed to have been the tallest building in the world for about four years. The structure is still recognized as the biggest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. 

Authorities throughout Europe and the U.S. have been on high alert for terror threats in the wake of Hamas attacks on Israel. Police in Austria have made arrests over suspected terror plots and were concerned that St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna might be targeted in an attack. 

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