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Borussia Dortmund team bus bomb attack: 10 times when terrorism struck sport

The Borussia Dortmund team bus was hit by explosions ahead of their Champions League clash against Monaco, which resulted in one player getting injured. Here are other instances when terrorism struck the sporting world.

other sports Updated: Apr 13, 2017 18:23 IST
HT Correspondent
A message is displayed on the giant scoreboard in support of Borussia Dortmund's Marc Bartra just before the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal leg 1 match against AS Monaco at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, on Wednesday. Bartra was injured after the Dortmund team bus was hit by explosions ahead of their match vs Monaco on Tuesday night.
A message is displayed on the giant scoreboard in support of Borussia Dortmund's Marc Bartra just before the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal leg 1 match against AS Monaco at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, on Wednesday. Bartra was injured after the Dortmund team bus was hit by explosions ahead of their match vs Monaco on Tuesday night. (REUTERS)

The Borussia Dortmund team bus was hit by three explosions just before their Champions League quarterfinal match against Monaco on Tuesday. It resulted in one player, Marc Bartra getting injured. The match, scheduled for Tuesday, took place on Wednesday withMonaco winning the first leg of the quarterfinal 3-2. German authorities arrested a suspected Islamist in connection with the attack and a letter was retrieved which called for Germany’s involvement in Syria and Afghanistan to be reduced.

The bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund team bus is not the first time that terrorism has targeted sports. Here are 10 incidents when terror rocked the sporting world:

1) Black September attack on Israeli athletes - 1972 Munich Olympics

The deadliest terror attack in the history of sport. In the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage by a Palestinian Terror group called Black September. The terrorists had stormed the Olympic village and demanded the release of 234 Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel and Germany.

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Negotiations took place for some days but eventually it broke down. The terrorists demanded that they be flown to Cairo along with the hostages, but, in a botched rescue attempt, all 11 Israeli athletes were killed along with one German police officer.

2) New Zealand cricket team escape in Sri Lanka - 1987

During the 1980s, the conflict between Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was at its peak. In 1987, India’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sent a peace-keeping force to disarm the militants. In this backdrop, the New Zealand team arrived to prepare for the World Cup to be played in India and Pakistan.

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On the fifth day of the first Test against Sri Lanka, the New Zealand team were heading back to the team hotel when a car bomb exploded at the Pettah bus station, Colombo’s largest bus junction. It killed 110 people. It was later revealed that a decision to take a different route had saved the New Zealand team from death. In the aftermath of the attack, the tour was cancelled.

3) New Zealand cricket team escape death again in Sri Lanka - 1992

Following the 1987 terror attack, no cricket team visited Sri Lanka for five years. In 1992, New Zealand, who had escaped the previous attack, came back. The team was put up at the Taj Samudra hotel and everything was under control.

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However, on the eve of the first Test, a suicide bomber crashed into a car outside the team hotel which contained Sri Lanka’s vice admiral. The explosion resulted in the death of five people and many New Zealand players were in shock. After assurances, the tour took place but there was plenty of discord in the team.

4) Terror in a park - 1996 Atlanta Olympics

On July 27, 1996, four pipe bombs exploded in the Centennial Park in Atlanta, Georgia. The attack took place at a time when the city was hosting the summer Olympics.

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One person was killed and 111 people were injured. The FBI identified Eric Robert Rudolph, a former US Army soldier with the rank of specialist, as the prime suspect. After five years on the run, he was finally arrested and was sentenced to two life terms without parole. The incident did not result in the cancellation of the Games

5) ETA strike in El-Clasico Champions League encounter - 2002

In 2002, Barcelona and Real Madrid squared off in the semifinal of the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. However, before the start of the match, two car bombs exploded outside the Bernabeu, injuring nine people.

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Basque seperatist group (ETA) took responsibility for the attack. However, the match went ahead, with Barcelona losing 0-2 to Real Madrid.

6) New Zealand witness horror in Pakistan - 2002

New Zealand were the first team to arrive in Pakistan after the September 11 terror attacks in the USA in 2001. After playing the first Test in Lahore, the teams headed to Karachi for the second Test. Both teams were put up at the Pearl Continental Hotel when a suicide bomb attack took place just outside the hotel.

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The target for the blast was French naval technicians who were working on a submarine project in Karachi. In the attack, 10 French nationals were killed. In the aftermath of the blast, New Zealand immediately cancelled their tour, with Australia also putting their decision to tour the country for three ODIs ‘on review’.

7) Sri Lanka cricket team attacked in Lahore - 2009

The Sri Lankan team was heading towards the stadium in the morning when terrorists stormed Liberty square not far from the stadium. Using RPGs, hand grenades and guns, the terrorists opened fire on the bus, wounding the driver, Meher Khalil.

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However, Khalil showed remarkable presence of mind to take the players to safety. Seven people were killed and 20 were wounded. Sri Lankan cricketers Thilan Samaraweera, Kumar Sangakkara, Tharanga Paranavitana, Ajantha Mendis, Chaminda Vaas, Mahela Jayawardene and Suranga Lakmal sustained injuries. The tour was immediately cancelled and this attack had far-reaching consequences for Pakistan cricket. Since the attack, foreign teams have refused to tour Pakistan while the team has been forced to play their ‘home’ games in the UAE.

8) Togo football team attacked in Angola - 2010

The 2010 Africa Cup of nations was overshadowed by an attack on the Togo football team. On January 8, 2010, the national team’s bus was hit by terrorists belonging to an off-shoot of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, a province in Angola.

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Bus driver Mário Adjoua, the team’s assistant manager Abalo Amelete, and media officer Stanislas Ocloo were killed while nine people were injured. The Togo national team pulled out of the event and called for a boycott of the Africa Cup of nations tournament.

9) Terror strikes America, this time in Boston - 2013

The Boston Marathon is one of the most popular and viewed events in athletics. The event, that started in 1896, has been a regular feature of American sport. During the 117th edition, the eventwas marred by a terror attack.On April 15, 2013, two bombs detonated near the finish line, killing three people and injuring hundreds. Out of the numbers injured, 16 people lost their limbs.

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The FBI launched a massive manhunt and identified Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the perpetrators of the attack. Dzhokhar was tracked down on April 19 and he was sentenced to death. The annual marathon event did take place in 2014, with Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia emerging as the winner.

10) Germany vs France ‘deadly’ football friendly - 2015

In November 2015, Paris witnessed co-ordinated terrorist attacks in several parts of the city. One of the targets was the iconic State de France stadium, where a friendly match between Germany and France was being played.

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Francois Hollande, the French President, was in attendance. Twenty minutes into the match, three suicide bombers detonated their vests outside the stadium, resulting in four deaths. The entire terror strikes resulted in the death of 130 people and 368 were injured. Although the match did not resume, both teams spent the night at the stadium. The match resumed next day, with France winning 2-0 but the attacks had overshadowed the whole event. In the aftermath, France hosted the 2016 Euro tournament in an atmosphere of high security.