Police probing 'Islamist link' after Dortmund blasts

2017-04-12 15:14
Investigators search for evidence near the team hotel of club Borussia Dortmund after the team bus was damaged by an explosion. (Martin Meissner, AP)

Investigators search for evidence near the team hotel of club Borussia Dortmund after the team bus was damaged by an explosion. (Martin Meissner, AP)

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Dortmund - German police are investigating a possible Islamist link to three explosions that rocked the Borussia Dortmund football team's bus, after a letter found at the scene referred to the devastating Berlin Christmas market attack, national media reported on Wednesday.

The letter "claims responsibility for what happened," said prosecutor Sandra Luecke, telling journalists that "its authenticity is being verified."

Luecke did not give details of its content, but national media citing unnamed sources said it referred to the Berlin attack in December claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 12 people.

Safe locations

It also mentioned Germany's deployment of Tornado reconnaissance missions as part of an anti-ISIS international coalition, they reported.

The assault that wounded two, described by Dortmund city's police chief as a "targeted attack" against the team, shook German football ahead of crucial Champions League ties.

The Dortmund team had been leaving for the stadium to face Monaco when the blasts occurred.

Their match is now delayed until later on Wednesday, when Bayern Munich are due to host Real Madrid for a separate Champions League game.

The games will take place under heightened security, with hotels of the players under guard and their buses driven to safe locations.

German authorities have until now held off from describing it as a terror attack, saying it is too early to determine a motive.

But the probe has now been taken over by federal prosecutors, whose remit includes terror investigations.

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

Shattered bus windows

Spanish international Marc Bartra underwent surgery on a broken wrist after he was hit by flying glass. The injured policeman, who was on a motorcycle and had been 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 were hidden in a hedge and were detonated as the bus passed.

The blast shattered the bus windows and the vehicle was burned on the right hand side.

Read more on:    borussia dortmund  |  germany  |  security

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