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Firebomb attacks disrupt German railways

Associated Press / October 13, 2011

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BERLIN - German authorities sent scores of police officers to secure the nation’s rail system yesterday after a series of firebombs disrupted train traffic for thousands of passengers.

Authorities have detected 15 firebombs in seven locations since Monday. Hundreds of trains have been delayed due to partial shut-downs, but no one has been injured in any of the attacks.

The attacks “are criminal, terrorist acts,’’ said Germany’s transport minister, Peter Ramsauer.

The Federal Prosecutors’ Office announced it was taking over the investigation from local authorities, conducting it on suspicion “of anticonstitutional sabotage.’’

One firebomb went off midday yesterday on a train track in the western area of Staaken in Berlin, police spokesman Michael Gassen said. The device caught fire but did not explode, he said. Two other firebombs failed to explode near train lines in Berlin’s south and center.

The other four arson attempts occurred Monday and Tuesday, with one of the devices exploding in a cable shaft along a high speed train link between Berlin and Hamburg.

A previously unknown leftist group has claimed responsibility for one of firebombs, saying that it hopes to cause widespread disruption, and that it opposes Germany’s roles in the Afghanistan war.

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