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Borussia Dortmund bus attack: One person detained, German police probing 'Islamist link'

The damaged bus of Borussia Dortmund after an explosion some 10km away from the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v Monaco in Dortmund, western Germany. Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Dortmund, Germany Apr 12, 2017, 11.34 AM (IST)

 

German police had earlier said they were investigating a possible Islamist link to three explosions that rocked the Borussia Dortmund football team bus as the club vowed not to give into "terror" (WION)

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German police have detained one person, an "Islamist" suspect over three explosions that struck Borussia Dortmund's team bus, prosecutors said on Wednesday, confirming that the investigation was examining a possible "terrorist link".

"Two suspects from the Islamist spectrum have become the focus of our investigation. Both of their apartments were searched, and one of the two has been detained," said lead prosecutor Frauke Koehle. Separately, national news agency DPA said a second claim of responsibility emerged online, this time possibly linked to "anti-fascist" far-left groups.
 

German police had earlier said they were investigating a possible Islamist link to three explosions that rocked the Borussia Dortmund football team bus as the club vowed not to give in to "terror".

Dortmund's Spanish international Marc Bartra and a policeman were injured in the roadside blasts set off as the bus took the team to their Champions League game against Monaco on Tuesday night. The match was put back to Wednesday amid a ratcheting of security around Dortmund and in Munich where Bayern Munich take on Real Madrid.

UEFA said that security will be tightened around Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final games following a bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund team bus. There were extra forces around team hotels and their buses will take special safe routes to the stadiums.

A letter found at the scene of Tuesday's attack "claims responsibility for what happened," prosecutor Sandra Luecke said late Tuesday. The "authenticity is being verified," she added. Luecke did not give details of the letter, but media citing unnamed sources said it referred to the Berlin Christmas market attack in December that killed 12 people. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.

It also mentioned Germany's deployment of Tornado reconnaissance missions as part of an anti-IS international coalition, they reported. The assault was described by Dortmund city's police chief as a "targeted attack" against the team.

But Dortmund's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watze vowed that his side "will not give in to terror", as the club announced that the players have returned to training a day after the blasts. "We will play not only for ourselves today. We will play for everyone... we want to show that terror and hate can never determine our actions," he said in a statement.

German authorities have held off from describing it as an organised 'terror attack'. But the probe has been taken over by federal prosecutors, whose remit includes terror investigations. Separately, national news agency DPA said the second claim of responsibility emerged online, this time possibly linked to "anti-fascist" far-left groups.

Investigators were also looking at the letter, which says the team was attacked because it did not speak out enough against racists and Nazis, added DPA. Germany has been on high alert since a series of jihadist attacks last year, including Berlin market assault.

The explosives detonated minutes after the Dortmund team bus pulled away from the squad's hotel and headed for their quarter-final, first-leg tie against Monaco. Bartra underwent surgery on a broken wrist after he was hit by flying glass, Dortmund president Reinhard Rauball told NTV news channel.

The injured policeman, who was on a motorcycle escorting the team bus, suffered trauma from the noise of the blasts. "We are assuming that they were a targeted attack against the Dortmund team," said the western German city's police chief Gregor Lange.

The explosives shattered the bus windows and the vehicle was burned on the right-hand side. "The bus turned onto the main road when there was a huge noise - a big explosion," Dortmund's Swiss goalkeeper Roman Burki told Swiss media. 

"After the bang, we all crouched down in the bus. We did not know if more would come."

(AFP)
 

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