Islamist arrested following soccer bus attack; was Islamic State member in Iraq, says German prosecutor

FILE PHOTO: The Borussia Dortmund team bus is seen after an explosion near their hotel before the game

FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer – Borussia Dortmund v AS Monaco – UEFA Champions League Quarter Final First Leg – Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany – 11/4/17 The Borussia Dortmund team bus is seen after an explosion near their hotel before the game. Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

By Joseph Nasr

BERLIN (Reuters) – German prosecutors issued an arrest warrant against a 26-year-old Iraqi man detained following an attack on a bus carrying players of a top soccer team, saying on Thursday they believed he was a member of Islamic State.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office added there was no evidence that the man, identified as Abdul Beset A. and who arrived in Germany via Turkey at the start of 2016, had taken part in the attack in the city of Dortmund.

Three explosions went off as the Borussia Dortmund bus traveled to the club’s stadium for their Champions League match against AS Monaco on Tuesday, injuring Spanish defender Marc Bartra and delaying the fixture by a day.

The suspect will appear before a judge who will decide whether to approve the arrest warrant issued by prosecutors, which would allow the man to be held for longer than 24 hours.

“The investigations have so far resulted in no evidence that the suspect had taken part in the attack,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

It added that the man was a member of Islamic State in Iraq, where he led a 10-strong commando unit that was involved in kidnappings, smuggling, extortion and killings. The jihadist group controls parts of Iraq and Syria.

Bild newspaper said on Thursday that military detonators had been used to set off the three explosive devices, probably remotely using a mobile phone.

Three identical letters printed in German found near the scene of the attack in the western city of Dortmund suggested a possible Islamist motive for the attack.

One of the letters, published by Bild, starts with the Islamic phrase ‘In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,’ and demands the withdrawal of German Tornado surveillance planes from Syria and the closure of the U.S. military air base in Ramstein, Germany.

“As of now, all infidel actors, singers, athletes and all prominent personalities in Germany and other crusader nations are on a death list of the Islamic State,” the letter said.

Bild said prosecutors were also investigating two additional suspects in the attack, one a neo-Nazi sympathizer and another from a radical leftist group.

(Additional reporting by Rene Wagner; Editing by Toby Chopra and John Stonestreet)


Categories: Europe, News Wire, World News

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