Investigators see terror plot behind German train bombs

18th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

18 August 2006, WIESBADEN, GERMANY - Two suitcases containing bombs and found on trains in Germany were likely to have formed part of a terrorist plot, German investigators said Friday. The bombs were found in the German cities of Dortmund and Koblenz on July 31 with German Criminal Police Office (BKA) chief Joerg Ziercke saying that were arranged to explode simultaneously at 2.30 pm. Neither of the bombs was detonated. "It's more likely than unlikely that there was a terrorist background," Ziercke told a

18 August 2006

WIESBADEN, GERMANY - Two suitcases containing bombs and found on trains in Germany were likely to have formed part of a terrorist plot, German investigators said Friday.

The bombs were found in the German cities of Dortmund and Koblenz on July 31 with German Criminal Police Office (BKA) chief Joerg Ziercke saying that were arranged to explode simultaneously at 2.30 pm. Neither of the bombs was detonated.

"It's more likely than unlikely that there was a terrorist background," Ziercke told a news conference in Wiesbaden.

If the around 25-kilo suitcase bombs had exploded they would have led to "a fireball" in the train carriages and an "indeterminate number of injured and possible deaths", he said.

Speaking in Berlin Friday, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also warned that Germany should brace itself for similar attempts. "Unfortunately, we must assume that there is the danger of a repeat of these attempted attacks."

The discovery of the two bombs sparked a series of scares at railway stations across Germany with parts of the central station in Dusseldorf sealed off Friday after a suspicious suitcase was found. Officials in Dusseldorf later gave the all-clear, saying it had been a false alarm.

The BKA press conference had been called to report on the investigation into the discovery of the suitcases which contained bottles of petrol, propane gas and a detonating device in trains at Dortmund and Koblenz railway stations.

The revelations of terror link also came as investigations continued in Britain about a possible plot to blow up airlines flying between London and the US.

Speaking to reporters, the BKA chief said that it was unlikely that the bombs found at the two German railway stations represented an attempt to blackmail the German rail operator, Deutsche Bahn.

In a chilling development, German investigators also showed lengthy footage taken from video security cameras in the Cologne railway station showing two men aged between 20 and 30 transporting two suitcases alleged to have contained the explosives.

The discovery of the two suitcase bombs coincided with the latest conflict in the Middle East. "We believe that it is possible that the perpetrators wanted to see signals in the direction of the Middle East," said Ziercke.

He also revealed that in one of the bags containing the bombs police found a note written in Arabic along with a telephone number in Lebanon and - similar to a shopping list - the name of a yoghurt that is manufactured in Lebanon but is also available in Germany.

Security experts also pointed out that this was not the first time that Germany has been a target of possible terrorist attacks.

"Memories immediately arise of the Madrid and London attacks," said Ziercke.

However, Zierke said it was not possible to make a comparison between the bombs planted in Dortmund and Koblenz and the terrorist attacks on public transport in London and Madrid.

This was because he said there were no obvious links to terrorist organisations and the bombs did not contain regular explosives. Moreover, he said, it did not appear that the explosives were designed to be detonated by suicide bombers.

German officials believe the planting of the bombs had the hallmarks of an internal German terror group.

However, security experts, the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Friday, claimed that the amount of explosives contained in the bombs would have had the same devastating impact as last year's London underground bombings.

More than 50 people were killed in last year's terror attacks in London, which ripped through three underground train carriages and a bus.

German investigators have offered a reward of 50,000 euros (63,950 dollars) for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

"The 50,000 euros reward shows that we are very concerned," said Ziercke.

DPA

Subject: German news

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