German Investigators Consider Possible Terrorist Motives In Soccer Team Blasts
BERLIN — Germany’s general prosecutor on Wednesday took over the investigation of three explosions targeting a local soccer team, suggesting a possible terrorist connection to the attack.
A letter claiming responsibility was found near the scene of the attack, which seriously injured defender Marc Bartra of the Borussia Dortmund club. Police have not revealed the contents of the letter, but a local daily said it linked the attack to German support for the fight against the radical Islamic State group in Syria.
“We have assumed from the beginning that this is a targeted attack on the BVB team,” Dortmund police chief Gregor Lange said at a press conference on Tuesday night.
The blasts went off near the hotel where the team stayed shortly after 7 p.m. local time as its bus was pulling out of the parking lot to drive to the scheduled match against AS Monaco.
Two windows were broken and the shards hit Bartra, who underwent surgery during the night. One police officer, who was escorting the bus on a motor cycle, suffered a blast trauma.
According to a report by the prominent daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, the letter found at the scene referred to the December attack on a Berlin Christmas market and to German fighter jets supporting the fight against the radical Islamic State group in Syria.
The one-page document also mentioned an “Islamic State death list” that athletes and other celebrities would be put on unless the German jets were withdrawn and the U.S. airbase in the German town of Ramstein was shut down, the report added.
Investigators are also considering the possibility that the letter was planted on the scene to mislead them.
If the letter turns out to be authentic, it would bring a new twist to the terror threat in Germany, targeting the beloved game of soccer.
While a game was once cancelled out of fears of an attack, for the most part the incidents in Germany have been against random people, rather than targeting specific institutions or celebrities.