2016 Ludwigshafen bombing plot

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On 16 December 2016, a bombing plot was uncovered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The 12-year-old German-Iraqi boy, who was reported to be the perpetrator, was directed by an ISIL supporter to build two nail bombs and plant them at the local Christmas market and near a shopping centre.[1][2]


After a first attempt failed at the Christmas market on 26 November when the bomb did not explode, the boy tried a second time on 5 December near the mall and the town hall of Ludwigshafen. He was reported to have been radicalised or instructed by an unidentified ISIS member. The German federal prosecutor declined to comment on the ISIS stories and announced an investigation into his motives. The device contained “pyrotechnic material” believed to have been extracted from fireworks and sparklers and tests revealed that the mix was combustible, but not explosive.[1] The state youth welfare office took charge of the boy.[3]


The suspect was born in Ludwigshafen. His name was not released because of German privacy laws; German law also does not allow criminal prosecution of those younger than 14. The suspect had contemplated traveling to Syria in mid-2016 to join the Islamic State.[4]

Investigation and trial[edit]

On 13 April 2018, an Islamic State supporter was sentenced in Vienna to nine years in prison for instigating the crime and for planning another attack on the US airbase in Ramstein, Germany along with a 15-year-old girl married to him under Islamic law. During the trial, the suspect of the Ludwigshafen bombing, now 14 years old, emphasized that the bombing was his own idea. The bombing only failed because the fuse cord was insufficient.[2]


  • Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German government, said: "This is certainly a report that scares everyone."[5]
  • Peter Altmaier, The German minister of the chancellery, said that the authorities were "sensitized". They had to investigate whether the child was radicalised at home or through the internet.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Isis directs 12-year-old boy to attempt bombing of German Christmas market, Independent.co.uk, 16 December 2016
  2. ^ a b Islamist muss neun Jahre in Haft, Frankfurter Allgemeine
  3. ^ Um den Terrorverdächtigen kümmert sich nun das Jugendamt, Die Welt, 16 December 2016, in German
  4. ^ ANDREA THOMAS. "Germany Avoids Attack After 12-Year-Old Boy's Explosive Fails to Detonate". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 December 2016. The 12-year-old had considered traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State in the summer
  5. ^ a b Zwölfjähriger plante offenbar Anschlag in Ludwigshafen, Reuters.com, 16 December 2016, in German