Germans arrest 'Islamist' for Dortmund blasts

2017-04-12 16:01
A team bus arrives at the training grounds of Borussia Dortmund in Germany. (Marius Becker, dpa via AP)

A team bus arrives at the training grounds of Borussia Dortmund in Germany. (Marius Becker, dpa via AP)

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Dortmund - German investigators on Wednesday detained an Islamist suspect over three explosions that rocked Borussia Dortmund's team bus, prosecutors said, confirming that the probe was examining a possible "terrorist link".

The roadside blasts left Dortmund's Spanish international Marc Bartra and a policeman injured, with the bombs "containing metal pieces" detonating minutes after the team bus set off to a planned Champions League game against Monaco on Tuesday night.

The blast had a radius of more than 100m, federal prosecutors said, adding it was lucky the toll was not more severe.

Safe routes

The match was put back to Wednesday evening as security was ratcheted up around Dortmund and in Munich where Bayern Munich will take on Real Madrid.

But a defiant Dortmund vowed not to "give in to terror", with players returning to the pitch for training.

Extra forces were deployed around team hotels and their buses will take designated safe routes to the stadiums.

Uefa said "security procedures will be enhanced accordingly wherever needed".

Federal prosecutor's office spokesperson Frauke Koehler said the probe was examining a possible "terrorist link", after three identical letters were found at the scene.

"An Islamist background appears to be possible," she said, noting the letter demanded that Germany withdraw its deployment of Tornado reconnaissance missions in the anti-ISIS international coalition and close the US air base in the western German town of Ramstein.

"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," she added.

The assault was described by Dortmund city's police chief as a "targeted attack" against the team, while Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "horrified" by the "repugnant act".

Market assault

But Dortmund's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watze vowed that his side "will not give in to terror.

"We will play not only for ourselves today (on Wednesday). We will play for everyone... we want to show that terror and hate can never determine our actions," he said.

Monaco's vice president Vadim Vasilyev said "football must not be taken hostage", and pledged that the quarter-final would go ahead.

In a show of solidarity, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere will also attend the match.

Germany has been on high alert since a series of jihadist attacks last year, including the Berlin market assault.

Read more on:    borussia dortmund  |  uefa  |  germany  |  security

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