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Germany detains suspect with Islamist background in Dortmund attack probe

A written document found near the site of Tuesday’s blasts said celebrities belonging to “Germany and other crusading nations” were on IS’s “kill list”, but in a second statement circulating online, an anti-fascist group claimed the attack.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2017 18:31 IST
Borussia Dortmund,Islamic State,Angela Merkel
Police officers stand in front of Borussia Dortmund's damaged team bus after the explosions on Tuesday.(AP)

A man of Islamist background was detained by German investigators probing blasts against a bus carrying players of football club Borussia Dortmund, the federal public prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

It said investigators had searched the apartments of two suspects from Germany’s Islamist scene and decided to detain one of them.

It did not say where the suspect was detained but added that a decision would be made on whether to seek a judicial arrest warrant against him.

The prosecutor said metal strips had been used in the explosive devices activated in the attack, which injured one player and is being treated as having a “terrorist background”.

“The precise motive for the attack is unclear at present,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, citing security circles, said a written document found near the site of Tuesday night’s blasts referred to the attack on a Berlin Christmas market in December last year and claimed that German fighter jets were involved in killing Muslims in the Islamic State “caliphate”.

The statement, claiming responsibility for the attack reportedly, starts with a reference to “Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful” and states that sports personalities and celebrities belonging to “Germany and other crusading nations” were on IS’s “kill list”.

However, the investigators cited by Süddeutsche Zeitung said they were also looking into the possibility that the document was a false trail deliberately laid by another perpetrator.

A sniffing dog and its handler search the Dortmund stadium. ( AP )

German news agency DPA on Wednesday reported the existence of a second statement circulating online, in which an anti-fascist group claim they carried out the attack in retaliation for Borussia Dortmund not doing enough to distance themselves from rightwing populism.

German police said they were investigating “in all directions”. Investigators were checking the authenticity of the letter claiming responsibility and but refused to give any details of its contents, citing the ongoing probe.

Federal prosecutors, who typically handle especially serious cases, including those in which a terrorist motive is suspected, have taken over the investigation.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the German Chancellor was appalled by the attack.

“The chancellor was last night, like people in Dortmund, like millions everywhere, appalled by the attack on the BVB team bus,” spokesman said Steffen Seibert told a government news conference. “One can only be relieved that the consequences were not worse,” he said.

Seibert added that investigators were doing everything in their power to track down the perpetrator, or perpetrators.

First Published: Apr 12, 2017 18:31 IST