Updated: 22/12/16 : 06:54:43
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Terrorist attack not ruled out in Ireland - Minister

Irish people travelling abroad over Christmas should exercise extreme caution, according to the Foreign Affairs Minister.

Charlie Flanagan's comments come in the wake of the attack in Berlin which killed 12 people.

The Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria are popular with Irish people and a large number travel every year to avail of the wide variety of gifts on offer and a perfect seasonal atmosphere.

The Minister said a terrorist attack couldn't be ruled out in Ireland.

With a large man hunt is underway in Berlin, Charlie Flanagan has this advice for Irish people heading abroad.

"My advice to Irish citizens travelling anywhere in Europe is to exercise a high degree of caution.

"Many European countries have a state of high alert. I acknowledge that the events of the last 48 hours have heightened tensions. My advice to Irish people would be to exercise caution."

Meanwhile a Europe-wide manhunt is under way for the Tunisian man wanted for the Berlin lorry attack.

Anis Amri, 24, was reportedly monitored on suspicion of planning a robbery in order to pay for guns but surveillance was lifted for lack of evidence.

Before entering Germany, he had served four years for arson in Italy.

Monday evening's attack at a Christmas market killed 12 and injured 49 more.

Minister Flanagan's warning comes just days after a leading Irish imam called for the Irish Government to regulate Islamic affairs in Ireland to prevent unqualified imams radicalising Muslims.

Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri, chairman of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, said the Government should set up "a Muslim council to regulate all affairs in Ireland such as how mosques are being run and what education they are providing".

Dr Al-Qadri, who runs a mosque in Clonee, Dublin, also said although the Government monitored individuals it suspected of having extremist links, it also needed to have a strategy to monitor levels of radicalisation and an initiative to promote integration.

The topic of extremism was being tackled with young people in some, but not all mosques in Ireland, he said, because in some cases the imams were not intellectually qualified to do so and in others there was a reluctance to broach such a sensitive issue.