Germany detains suspect over soccer attack in Dortmund

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/4/13 0:08:39

Merkel ‘appalled’ by attack on Dortmund team bus

German authorities arrested a suspected Islamist on Wednesday in connection with an attack on a bus carrying players of one of the country's top soccer teams, a spokesperson for the Federal Prosecutor's Office said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson said she was "appalled" by Tuesday evening's attack on the Borussia Dortmund bus, in which Spanish defender Marc Bartra was injured.

The incident forced a 24-hour postponement of the team's high-profile clash with AS Monaco, and officials said security had been stepped up for that game and a second Champions League quarterfinal in Germany on Wednesday, between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Ralf Jaeger, interior minister in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia which includes Dortmund, said the investigation was looking "in all directions," and it was unclear if one or several attackers were involved.

The spokesperson for the Federal Prosecutors, who handle probes into suspected terrorism, said investigators had found three letters near the scene of the attack, all with the same content suggesting a possible Islamist motive.

Spokesperson Frauke Koehler said the letters referred to the use of Tornado reconnaissance planes in Syria, which Germany has deployed as part of the military campaign against Islamic State, and also called for the closure of the US military base at Ramstein in western Germany.

She also noted an online claim of responsibility by an anti-fascist group, but said there was serious doubt about its validity. Investigators had identified two suspects from the "Islamist scene," searched their apartments and detained one man, she said.

The blasts smashed windows on the bus carrying the players to the stadium for the match against AS Monaco. Bartra was operated on for a broken bone in his right wrist and shrapnel in his arm, a team spokesperson said.

"The chancellor was last night, like people in Dortmund, like millions everywhere, appalled by the attack on the BVB team bus," Merkel's spokesperson Steffen Seibert told a news conference.

"One can only be relieved that the consequences were not worse," he said, praising Dortmund fans for offering accommodation to AS Monaco fans after the postponement.

European soccer's governing body UEFA said there had been no specific intelligence regarding any threat to any of Wednesday's Champions League fixtures.

Police in Munich said they were deploying an additional 80 officers and strengthening security around hotels and key routes for the match there.

Security is among the ­issues at the heart of ­Germany's ­parliamentary election on ­September 24, a tight battle in which Merkel is running for a fourth term.

Newspaper headline: Soccer blast suspect detained


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