Suspect nabbed as police probe Dortmund bus blasts

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Borussia Dortmund football player and policeman injured as three explosives blow up along bus route

German investigators yesterday detained an Islamist suspect over three explosions that rocked Borussia Dortmund's team bus on its way to its Champions League quarter-final home match against AS Monaco at 6.45pm on Tuesday (12.45am, Singapore time yesterday).

Prosecutors also confirmed that the probe was examining a possible "terrorist link".

Dortmund player Marc Bartra and a policeman were hurt when the homemade pipe bombs went off along the bus route. The roadside blasts shattered the bus windows and the vehicle was burned on the right-hand side.

"The bus turned onto the main road, when there was a huge noise - a big explosion," Dortmund's Swiss goalkeeper Roman Burki told Swiss media.

"After the bang, we all crouched down in the bus. Anyone who could, threw himself on the floor. We did not know if more would come," he said.

He added that Spain international Bartra was "hit by splinters of broken glass".

Dortmund's spokesman said the 26-year-old had broken a bone in his right wrist.

The player's father later said that his son was recovering after a successful operation. Mr Jose Bartra said he had spoken to his son, who was expected to leave hospital in a few days.

"We spoke yesterday after the operation and he told us he was fine," the senior Mr Bartra told Spanish media. "The doctors said it was a clean break, that he didn't have anything in his arm and that he would be in the hospital for a few days before he would be discharged."

Mr Batra said his son was shocked by the attack. "It's true it was a shock... The first thing he heard was a loud bang and an explosion," said the father.

"Then he began to feel a pain in his head and his arm hurt a lot because he didn't know what had happened."

The federal public prosecutor's office said yesterday that two suspects from the "Islamist spectrum" had become the focus of its investigation. "Both of their apartments were searched, and one of the two has been detained," it said.

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 the man.

Citing security circles, the newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung said a written document found near the site of Tuesday's blasts referred to the attack on a Berlin Christmas market last year and claimed that German fighter jets were involved in killing Muslims in the ISIS "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 ISIS' "kill list", reported the Guardian.

However, investigators quoted by Suddeutsche Zeitung said they were also looking into the possibility that the document was an attempt to divert them from the real perpetrator.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said there were "serious doubts" concerning a second letter of responsibility purported to be from an anti-fascist group.

The assault was described by Dortmund city's police chief as a "targeted attack" against the team, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted by her spokesman as saying she was "horrified" by the "repugnant act", and wished the side luck in its match.

"We are only relieved that it did not have more severe consequences," the spokesman added, praising the "calm" response of the 80,000 fans in the stadium.

The match was re-scheduled for yesterday morning (Singapore time) and Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said itmust take place as a sign against terrorism.

"We will play not only for ourselves today, but also for everyone... We want to show that terror and hate can never determine our actions," said the Dortmund boss. "And, of course, we play for Marc Bartra, who wants to see his team win."