Germany probes new message claiming Dortmund attack

Berlin (AFP) – German prosecutors said Saturday they were examining a third claim of responsibility for blasts that rocked Borussia Dortmund’s team bus, but no new suspects have yet emerged.

With Dortmund players due back on the pitch in Germany’s premier league, the Bundesliga, police are pursuing leads in their probe of Tuesday’s attack that left Spanish international Marc Bartra and a policeman injured.

Three bombs containing pieces of metal detonated minutes after the bus left the team’s hotel for a Champions League match against Monaco.

The Tagesspiegel daily revealed it had received the new claim, apparently from far-right circles, railing against multi-culturalism, saying it had been behind the triple blast and threatening another attack.

“We have the letter claiming responsibility. We are examining it,” said Frauke Koehler, spokeswoman for federal prosecutors, referring to the email received by Tagesspiegel.

Several such claims have already been investigated without any breakthrough.

Three identical letters found close to the site had initially suggested an Islamist link, but questions have arisen about the authenticity of that claim.

A sole suspect — an Iraqi man — taken into custody over the Islamist link has since been cleared of involvement and a second claim purporting to be from the far-left was made online, but prosecutors cast doubt on it.

Separately Welt daily quoted unnamed security sources saying that the explosives may stem from army stock. 

Technical expertise is required to handle the detonator, which is not easily obtained, added the sources.

A spokeswoman from the federal crime bureau BKA would not confirm the report, saying it was “much too early” to pinpoint the origin of the explosives.

“The investigations are continuing in all directions and are running at full-speed”, she said, adding that about 100 officers were participating in the probe.

Dortmund players were badly shaken by the attack, but nevertheless played their delayed first leg quarter-final match against Monaco on Wednesday, losing 3-2 to the French club.

Bartra, who had to undergo a wrist operation, left hospital on Saturday, but will be out of action for about four weeks.

The club’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said he thought about pulling Dortmund out of the Champions League following the attack before resolving to not cede to the bombers.

“I briefly asked myself if we shouldn’t withdraw completely from the competition, but that would have been a victory for those responsible for the attack,” he told Saturday’s edition of Spiegel weekly.

The team is hosting Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga on Saturday, when six other league games are being played under heightened security.

Dortmund had urged fans to turn up early due to security checks, and asked them to avoid bringing bags or backpacks.

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