German prosecutors link Bonn bomb plot to radical Islamists
Berlin: Germany's federal prosecutor has taken over the investigations into a failed attempt to detonate a powerful bomb at the main railway station in Bonn five days ago as new evidences indicated that radical Islamists may have plotted to carry out a bloodbath in the former German capital.
The authorities have sufficient evidence to assume that a bag containing explosives, detonator and a timer, which was found abandoned at a railway platform during the rush hour last Monday, was an "attempted bomb attack by a terrorist organisation carrying the hallmarks of radical Islamists," the federal prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe said in a statement late yesterday.
Investigators also obtained "incriminating evidences" to prove that the person, who left the bag with explosive devices capable of setting off a large explosion, has links with radical Islamic circles, the statement said.
On the basis of the current level of investigation, the authorities have an initial suspicion that the suspect, as a member of a terrorist organisation, wanted to carry out a bomb attack, the statement said.
Therefore, the federal prosecutor's office decided to take over the investigation from the state prosecutors in Bonn and asked the federal criminal office (BKA) to carry out further investigations and search for possible accomplices.
Investigations so far showed that the bomb was made up of a 40 centimetre metal pipe filled with ammonium nitrate, which was wrapped around by four butane gas cannisters as well as an alarm clock and diverse batteries, which were intended to set off the bomb.
Further investigations are needed to establish why the bomb did not explode, the statement said.
Norbert Wagner, director of criminal investigations in Cologne, said on Thursday the bomb was "extremely dangerous".
It was so powerful that it would have caused a number of casualties and serious injuries if it had exploded, he said.
Shortly after the bomb was found on Monday afternoon, two German nationals of Somali origin were taken into custody by police, but they were set free a few hours later after questioning as the suspicion of their involvement could not be substantiated.
Investigations are now focusing on a middle-aged man with blond hair, who was seen carrying a bag similar to the one which contained the bomb in a CCTV footage of a fast food restaurant on the platform. A second suspect is a dark-skinned man, who left the bag near some people sitting on the platform and swiftly left the area.
A train traveller found the bag lying unattended and alerted the railway authorities. Bomb disposal specialists later deactivated the explosive device using a water cannon.
German interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said the bomb found in Bonn was very worrying and urged the public to be more alert.
"It underlines our assessment that Germany continues to be in the vision of Jihadist terrorists," he said.