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Germany joins Madrid probeas Berlin station closed

18 March 2004

BERLIN – One of German capital’s main railway stations was closed Thursday after police discovered as suspicious parcel under beefed-up security checks imposed after last week’s Madrid bombings.

The box, found at Berlin’s “East Train Station” in mid-morning, turned out to be a false alarm and contained only music CDs, officials said.

But the scare showed how disruptive heightened security can be: the station was shut for 90 minutes and all trains including the heavily-used S-Bahn commuter rail service were halted.

Tougher security is evident throughout Berlin’s railway and public transport system.

In the subway, electronic timetables now include frequent warnings to watch out for unattended bags.

Security guards travelling on the subway demand that passengers identify themselves as the owners bikes or bags being transported.

Berlin, Germany’s largest city, has a population of 3.4 million.

Meanwhile, German authorities have launched a federal investigation into the Madrid terrorist bombings, as a German citizen was among the injured.

“That fact alone is grounds enough for a federal investigation,” said a spokeswoman for German Prosecutor General Kay Nehm.

However, she stressed that the probe did not mean that there was any evidence of a German link to the bombings.

“Solely the fact that a German was among the casualties is the reason for this investigation,” the spokeswoman, Frauke-Katrin Scheuten, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

A German-born woman who was a permanent resident of Spain was injured in the attacks.



Subject: German News