Home Football Police probe Islamist link to Dortmund football blasts

Police probe Islamist link to Dortmund football blasts

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German police investigated a possible Islamist link to three explosions that rocked the Borussia Dortmund football team bus as the club vowed Wednesday it won’t give in to “terror”.

Dortmund’s Spanish international Marc Bartra and a policeman were injured in the roadside blasts set off as the team headed to a Champions League game against Monaco on Tuesday night.

The match was put back to Wednesday amid a ratcheting up of security around Dortmund and in Munich where Bayern Munich take on Real Madrid.

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”.

A letter found at the scene of the attack “claims responsibility for what happened,” prosecutor Sandra Luecke said late Tuesday. The “authenticity is being verified,” she added.

Luecke did not give details, but a copy of the letter circulated by national media showed it referring to the Berlin Christmas market attack in December that killed 12 people. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.

It also demanded that Germany withdraw its deployment of Tornado reconnaissance missions in the anti-IS international coalition and close the US base at the western German town of Ramstein.

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 Dortmund players 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.

Monaco’s vice president Vadim Vasilyev said “football must not be taken hostage”, as he pledged that the quarter final will go ahead on Wednesday.

 

German authorities have not called the attack organised terrorism. But the probe has been taken over by federal prosecutors, whose remit includes terror investigations.

Separately, national news agency DPA said a second claim of responsibility emerged online, this time possibly linked to “anti-fascist” far-left groups. But doubts over its authenticity were raised by sources in the radical-left.

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