Islamist radicals suspected in botched German attack

14th December 2012, Comments 0 comments

German prosecutors said on Friday they believed Islamist extremists were behind a botched bomb attack at Bonn train station.

The federal prosecutor said in a statement that there was enough evidence to suggest Monday's incident was "an attempted explosives' attack by a terrorist organisation with a radical Islamist bent".

The prosecutor's office, which is responsible for probing matters of terrorism, has taken over the investigation, it said.

A blue sports bag was discovered on Monday on a train platform at the station in western Germany containing an improvised explosive device.

Its contents included four pressure gas canisters, a 40-centimetre (16-inch) long metal pipe, batteries, a clock and ammonium nitrate.

"Why the explosive device did not detonate, requires further investigation," the prosecutor's statement said.

But it added that there was serious evidence "that the suspicious person has connections in radical Islamist circles", but gave no details.

Its discovery sparked the complete evacuation of Bonn station.

Norbert Wagner, who headed the investigation for Cologne police, told reporters on Wednesday that had the gas exploded and caused the ammonium nitrate to ignite, "there would have been a significant explosion ... that of course would have caused considerable harm to people."

On Tuesday, police arrested two men, one with links to an extremist Salafist group, but released them, and a day later announced they were looking for two men in connection with the incident.

In July 2006 Islamist militants placed suitcases with homemade bombs on two regional trains at nearby Cologne's main station. They failed to detonate, averting an almost certain bloodbath.


© 2012 AFP

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