German shopping centre closed over fears of imminent attack

Over 100 police officers are searching the complex

German shopping centre closed over fears of imminent attack

Members of the German police secure the shopping centre Limbecker Platz due to a terror alert, in Essen, Germany | Image: Bernd Thissen/dpa

A shopping centre in Germany has been ordered to stay closed after a tip-off that a terror attack was planned for today.

The Limbecker Platz centre in the city of Essen, western Germany, was shut on Saturday morning as more than 100 police officers - many of them armed - searched the complex.

The mall, which is one of the biggest in the region and can attract up to 60,000 shoppers on Saturdays, will remain closed all day and the nearest underground station has also been shut.

A police spokesman said: "We received during the course of yesterday some very serious indications from security circles that an attack was planned for today and would be carried out, so we were forced to take these measures."

Separately, police said in a statement: "The shopping centre will be closed all Saturday due to security concerns. The police has concrete information regarding a possible attack."

The nature of the threat has not been revealed by police.

The disruption comes just a few days after several people were injured when a man armed with an axe attacked commuters at Dusseldorf railway station.

The man was arrested and is being questioned but so far police have not said whether the incident was a terror attack.

Germany is on high alert after an attack last December on a Christmas market in Berlin when a truck rammed into pedestrians killing 12 people and Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Earlier in 2016 three people were injured in an attack on a Sikh temple in Essen by radicalised German-born Muslim teenagers.

Security officials estimate there are some 10,000 radical Islamists in Germany.