Four city halls have been evacuated in different states across Germany in the past two days. Police are trying to determine if the threats are linked.
City halls in Erfurt, Thuringia; Pforzheim, Baden-Württemberg; and Zwickau, Saxony, were all evacuated on Wednesday after receiving bomb threats. The city hall of Saarlouis in Saarland was evacuated after a similar threat on Tuesday. Traffic and public transportation were halted around the sites, and some nearby public spaces were cleared as well.
The buildings were all later deemed safe after police in the respective cities inspected all premises with bomb-sniffing dogs and found no explosives at any of the sites.
Police cannot yet confirm whether the threats were related, but say they are exchanging information to determine if that is the case.
Not the first time
A similar threat scenario played out across Germany on March 26, leading to the evacuation of city halls, administrative offices, and kindergarten facilities in six cities. More cities had received threats at the time, though police did not consider them to be serious.
Politicians increasingly targeted with death threats
Wednesday' evacuations come just weeks after Walter Lübcke, a local politician in Kassel, was shot dead in his yard by a man with far-right beliefs. Lübcke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was the target of online hate campaigns by neo-Nazis for his vocal support for the chancellor's refugee policy.
Last week, Cologne Mayor Henriette Recker received death threats from a man believed to be from the far-right scene. Recker was the victim of a right-wing extremist attack in 2015, when she was stabbed in the neck during a campaign event. She, too, was targeted for her pro-refugee stance.
Andreas Hollstein, the mayor of the western city of Altena, who himself was stabbed in 2017 for his pro-refugee stance, also received death threats last week.