+++Explosion hits Borussia Dortmund bus ahead of Champions League game – live updates+++

Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra has been injured after three ‘serious explosive devices’ detonated near his team’s bus. Dortmund were due to play Monaco in the Champions League but the game has been postponed.

Explosion am BVB Bus (Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach)

– Three explosive devices detonated near Borussia Dortmund’s bus on Tuesday as it was leaving the team hotel on the way to the Champions League quarterfinal match with French side Monaco. The game has been postponed until Wednesday.

– Spanish defender Marc Bartra was injured in the explosion and is undergoing surgery for injuries to his wrist and lower arm. The bus’s windows were shattered in the attack.

– Police say this was a targeted attack using “serious explosive devices” which could have been placed in a hedge near a car park. They also found a letter near the scene, which is being investigated.

Read the full report on the Dortmund bus explosion here

All updates in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)

21:45 The press conference has now wrapped up. We learnt that they believe this to be a targeted attack, that they found a letter claiming responsibility at the scene that is yet to be authenticated and that Marc Bartra will need surgery on his wrist and lower arm.

21:38 While the legitimacy of the letter is yet to be established, police say the writer claims responsibility for the attack.

21:30 This tweet from the local police explains that a letter was found in the vicinity of the attack and its authenticity is under investigation.

Die Staatsanwaltschaft bestätigt das Auffinden eines Schreibens in der Nähe des Tatortes. Die Echtheit wird derzeit überprüft.

21:28 Borussia Dortmund’s representative at the press conference confirms that Marc Bartra is undergoing surgery on his injured wrist and lower arm. It seems his injury is more serious than first thought.

21:23 The police also make it clear that security will be stepped up for the re-scheduled game on Wednesday. They add that they are searching for a car with a foreign registration plate.

21: 20 The police press conference is underway. They say that they assume the attack was targeted but the motive is currently unclear and nothing can be excluded at this stage.

21:11 Monaco have issued a statement that reads: “Faced with this difficult situation, AS Monaco wishes to express its full support for the whole Borussia Dortmund team and club.”

21:05 The police press conference is due to start any minute. Here’s what they know so far.

Watch video00:30

Police comments on Dortmund explosions

20:38 Dortmund police will hold a press conference in about 20 minutes time.

20:28 Werder Bremen midfielder Serge Gnabry is one of many footballers to pass on his best wishes to the Dortmund players.

My thoughts are with the @BVB players. Hope they are well and will recover quickly

20:07 Dortmund police have told press agency DPA that, as yet, there is no indication that the three explosions are terror-related. But they have said it was “an attack with serious explosive devices” and that the devices could have been placed in a hedge near a car park.

20:02 Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki was sitting next to Marc Bartra on the bus when it was rocked by an explosion.  He told Swiss newspaper ‘Blick’ that “there was a huge bang, literally an explosion” that sent glass flying about.

Explosionen an BVB-Bus (picture alliance/dpa/C.Linhoff)Dortmund players gather outside the hotel after the incident

19:52 In the middle of all the negative news, came this nice gesture from Dortmund.

 

19:44 Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has just wrapped up a Facebook Live on the club’s official page. He said Marc Bartra has been treated in hospital for cuts on one arm and hand. He added that police have told him explosive devices were hidden in a roadside bush on a public road just outside the team hotel.

19:41 DW’s Michael da Silva was in Dortmund for the game, here’s what he just told DW News.

Watch video03:14

DW’s Michael Da Silva reports from Dortmund

19:35 Former Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gündogan has also expressed his disbelief at the incident: “I can’t believe it,” he tweeted. “I hope everyone is fine.”

19:29 Martin Schulz, leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) has reacted to the explosion. “I’m shocked,” he wrote on Twitter. “Best wishes. And a safe journey home to all fans.”

19:20 Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says Marc Bartra’s injuries are “nothing life-threatening.”

18:52 One of our reporters has just spoken to an eyewitness. Sascha P. told DW that he was picking up his tickets to the game from the hotel where Borussia Dortmund was staying when he witnessed the explosion.

“The BVB bus was still there and was waiting for Thomas Tuchel [Dortmund coach]. Then the bus started to drive to the stadium. After a few moments a huge explosion happened. I was sitting in the car. The whole car was shaking.”

Sascha P. estimated he was about 30 meters (100 feet) behind the bus when this happened. He left the scene straight away, passing by the bus. He used the words “crazy” and “heavy” to describe the situation.

18:45 Borussia Dortmund have just tweeted to confirm that the person injured in the explosion was Spanish defender Marc Bartra. The club say he’s already in hospital and have wished him all the best.

Fußball Bundesliga Borussia Dortmund - FC Ingolstadt 04 Marc Bartra (picture-alliance)Marc Bartra has been taken to hospital

18:43 A police spokesman has just confirmed that the explosion happened shortly after the bus left the hotel. Several windows were shattered and one passenger was injured.

18:40 The supporters in the stadium now know the news but have been asked to stay inside for the time being for security reasons.

Thanks for your patience and understanding and the “Dortmund! Dortmund” chants, dear supporters of @AS_Monaco_EN!

18:34 Dortmund police say there were three explosions around the team hotel.

18:30 It’s now been confirmed that tonight’s match has been postponed until Wednesday.

18:29 Here’s a statement from local police:

“In the run-up to the Champions League match of BVB against AS Monaco, there was an explosion near the BVB team bus shortly after 7pm. The location of the event is Wittbräuckerstraße/Schirrmannweg in Dortmund-Höchsten.

“According to current knowledge the windows of the bus (whole or partial) were shattered and one person was injured. It is not yet possible to say exactly what the explosion was or exactly where something exploded.”

18:25 It’s being widely reported in German media that Dortmund defender Marc Bartra was injured in the explosion.

18: 21 There will be a decision on whether the game will go ahead in about 10 minutes.

18:18 Both Dortmund and local police have tweeted confirmation of the incident which happened outside the team hotel shortly after 17:00. While reports suggest no players have been injured, at this stage it is unclear whether the game will go ahead.

mp/kms (SID, dpa)

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German authorities carry out 13 simultaneous counter-terrorism raids across five states

German police have simultaneously raided a dozen apartments and a refugee center across five states, police in Thuringia have announced. Authorities say the raids are targeting asylum seekers suspected of joining IS.

Köln Polizei SEK (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Becker)

Heavily armed police swarmed more than a dozen locations across the country Tuesday morning.

Some 12 apartments and a center used to house refugees and asylum seekers were all raided by police in the states of Thuringia, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Bavaria. Authorities have said the investigation began last year following the arrest of a 28-year-old Russian national of Chechen descent.

Investigators are targeting an additional 10 men and three women – all Russian Federation citizens in their 20s and 30s – as they look deeper into suspected militant financing. The individuals – all asylum seekers – are suspected to have “intended” to join the “self-styled “Islamic State” (IS)” in Syria police said, according to regional public broadcaster MDR.

Anti-Terror-Einsätze der Polizei in Thüringen (picture-alliance/dpa/B.Schackow)

No threat to public safety in Germany has been identified, authorities said.

“There has been no concrete danger of an attack from the investigations so far,” Thuringia’s state criminal authority said in a statement. Special police units seized personal effects in various locations and will turn them over to investigators as part of the multi-state operation, the state criminal authority said.

Germany has been on heightened alert since two attacks were carried out in the space of a week in July. Both were claimed by the IS militant group.

jar, rs/kl (dpa, AFP)

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Germany and EU talk tough on returning ‘IS’ fighters

A new terrorist threat was on the agenda as German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere met EU security head Julian King. That was after King told a German paper the latest fighting in Iraq could mean trouble for Europe.

Deutschland | Pressekonferenz IM de Maizière und EU-Kommissar King (picture-alliance/dpa/W. Kumm)

As part of his first visit to Berlin after becoming EU security commissioner on September 19, Julian King toured the Joint Terrorism Defense Center in Berlin. And terrorism – particularly the prospect of European “Islamic State” (IS) fighters from Syria and Iraq coming back to the continent – was at the center of his subsequent talks with German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

“We need to redouble our efforts to deal with that threat, and in particular we need to redouble our efforts on prevention to dissuade people from going in the first place to support Daesh,” King said, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “We need to redouble the work we’re doing to strengthen controls on our borders, including for EU citizens.”

In an interview with “Die Welt” newspaper ahead of his meeting with de Maiziere, King had warned that if Iraqi troops retook the IS stronghold of Mosul, European IS fighters could return and launch terrorist attacks. King said that the numbers of such fighters was likely to be small but added that they represented a serious threat for which Europe had to be prepared.

De Maiziere acknowledged that IS had threatened to launch attacks on the continent but argued that the potential fall of Mosul didn’t necessarily raise the danger level in Europe.

“I don’t see any additional threat to Germany because of the fighting on the ground there,” de Maiziere said.

In his interview King put the number of people from the EU fighting for IS at 2,500, although earlier this year, English newspaper “The Telegraph” put the figure at around 6,000.  A study by the International Center for Counter Terrorism in The Hague published this April specified the number of IS fighters from Germany as more than 238.

Known and unknown threats

Irak Mossul Offensive der Regierungstrupen gegen IS (Getty Images/AFP/A. Al-Rubaye)IS fighters fleeing Iraqi troops in Mosul could end up in Europe

The interior minister insisted that Germany had laws in place to intercept any returning IS fighters at its borders .

“Of course we know those people who left Germany and who may have battle experience,” de Maiziere said. “That’s why we have laws to prevent them from traveling and take them into custody when they return, and that happens on a weekly basis.”

Potential terrorists who come to Germany for the first time and are unknown to security authorities represent a different problem. But de Maiziere argued that Germany was well-prepared, alluding to the arrest of would-be terrorist Jaber Albakr, who entered Germany as a refugee from Syria.

“Good cooperation between security authorities, internationally and nationally, makes it possible to recognize dangerous people and prevent them from attacking, as has been successfully shown in Germany recently,” the interior minister said.

But de Maiziere essentially sidestepped a question as to whether the battle for Mosul could lead to another wave of refugees to Germany, with the attendant security risks.

A three-pronged plan

Biometrie Grenzkontrolle in Frankfurt (AP)Germany says it has measures in place at borders to intercept potential terrorists

Despite Britain’s intent to leave the EU,Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker appointed King to head the bloc’s security efforts – a move widely considered an expression of how highly Brussels regards British intelligence services. De Maiziere seemed particularly keen to highlight the level of consensus between Germany and the British EU commissioner on the future directions of European security policy.

The Interior Minister said that Europe and the EU would be pursuing a passenger name record (PNR) of all air travelers flying to or within Europe, a system of visa-free travel (ETIAS) modeled on the American ESTA system, and the “interoperability” or linkage of various databases used by different security institutions.

“These three elements are difficult legally and technically, but they’re absolutely urgent,” de Maiziere said, “and I’m happy that Commissioner King is also going to take them up as a personal cause.”

Squeezing the space

Irak Islamischer Staat Propagandafoto (picture-alliance/Zuma Press)IS is on the retreat in Iraq but remains a threat

King specifically came out in support of the PNR but otherwise remained more general in his remarks.

“The security of one member state is the security of all, and there’s a lot we can do at the EU level to help the efforts of member states,” the commissioner said. “For example, we can work to squeeze the space in which terrorists, and cyber-criminals, and serious criminals act.”

He did, however, stress the need to prevent people from becoming radicalized and hinted that EU member states that failed to live up to security standards could face repercussions.

“We need to do what we collectively agreed to do,” King said. “There are some instances in which member states are lagging behind, and the commission will encourage them, including, when necessary, by taking infringement action.”

But it remains to be seen whether King can maintain the authority necessary to keep all the EU’s member states in line, if his home country makes concrete progress toward leaving the bloc.

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Opinion: Terror helps Trump

As Hillary Clinton reacted with calm analysis to the New York bombing, Donald Trump made forceful demands. With 50 days until the election, the recent attacks will likely benefit Trump, writes DW’s Ines Pohl.

Scene of the shootout in Linden, New Jersey

In normal times, the cooperation between the police and FBI would be celebrated. Less than 24 hours after bomb attacks in New Jersey and New York City, the suspected perpetrator was not just idenfitied,but also arrested – on top of that, he was only slightly injured during his capture.

The fact that such a performance by the authorities received so little media attention – like almost everything else this week – is down to one reason: Donald Trump. Once again the Republican presidential candidate had a simple answer to Americans’ fears of further attacks by radical Muslims in their own country: racial profiling instead of political correctness. The fact that the practice is banned in the US is of little concern to Trump. Quite the opposite. Whenever one of his ideas goes against the law, it is just a reason for him and his supporters to demonstrate how corrupt, broken and wrong the system is. Only a political outsider can make sure that the laws are put aside for the greater goal: security in one’s own country.

Immediate solution

The complex analysis from Hillary Clinton was hardly popular. Many people do not want to hear about how a war in far-away Syria or Iraq is linked to radicalized Muslims in their own country. They are unsure. They are afraid. They want solutions. Immediately.

DW's Ines PohlDW’s Ines Pohl

People do not want to come to terms with the medium and long-term effects. There is no place for the question of what it does to a society that defines itself by differentiation and counterterrorism and is dominated by fear and uncertainty. But the claim that you have had enough and can lift a ban because of fear is reminiscent of the German right-wing Alternative for Germany party’s “You will actually be allowed to say that” claim.

The United States has very obviously not found a way to deal with how much part of the population can be driven by the feeling of bullying. How discussions are organized is based on the law, but citizens nevertheless feel they want to be honest with their feelings, concerns and hopes. Many have apparently not come up with a way to comb their fears and uncertainties for racist and xenophobic tendencies.

Elites weakened

And the country has found no answer up to this point for the question of which social forces are strong enough to prevent this conflict from getting out of hand. What is clear is that neither the elites nor the media can accomplish this task. Those are the conflicts that the US and countries like France, Britain, Poland, Denmark and now Germany, are grappling with.

But there are also questions that the US cannot find time for in the heat of the moment.

Cozy complacency

The US is so beaten and polarized after the months-long election campaign that it is seemingly falling apart in front of the cameras and real-time on Twitter. For this election, it is too late to try to pick a fight over dealing with taboos and the moral standing the country wants to have. Politicians in other countries, in the face of big elections, have a little time yet dispense with cozy complacency and insert themselves into reality, where the real people live.

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New York bombings suspect Ahmad Rahami charged with attempted murder after shooting

Authorities have arrested and charged the Afghan-born American wanted in connection with weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey. The assailant shot two officers during a firefight in Linden, New Jersey, earlier.

USA Fahndung gegen Ahmad Khan Rahami

AhmadKhan Rahami has been charged in Union County with five counts of attempted murder of a police officer. Authorities said two Linden officers were wounded while trying to arrest the assailant. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Federal charges in the bombings have yet to be filed. Rahami is reportedly being held on $5.2 million (5 million euros) bail while remaining at a hospital for the time being for the treatment of his wounds.

A video shown by US broadcaster CNN showed Rahami being placed in the back of an ambulance after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey on Monday. He had a bloody bandage on his right arm with his torso covered in a blanket.

Dramatic arrest

Linden police Captain James Sarnicki told American broadcaster NBC news that Rahami had opened fire on an officer who woke him from his sleep in a doorway when FBI agents and local police converged on an apartment address near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Rahami had lived at that address.

Watch video03:43

NYC bomb suspect arrested in New Jersey

After Rahami was arrested, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to call the bombing in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea an apparent act of “terrorism.”

“Yesterday there was no hint of any connection to foreign terrorism […] but there may very well turn out to be a link to foreign terrorist organizations, and that we’ll find out today or in the coming days,” Cuomo said at a news conference on Monday.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed with Cuomo. “We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror,” said de Blasio after Rahami’s arrest.

Blast during disarming attempt

A bomb had exploded on Saturday night in Chelsea, damaging buildings and wounding 29 persons. Another device went off while a bomb was trying to disarm it.

The blasts have rattled many residents in the New York City metro area – just days after marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda hijackers on New York and Washington in 2001.

Five suspicious devices werel ater found on Sunday near the train station in Elizabeth. The town’s Mayor Christian Bollwage said the devices were found in a bag in a trash bin by two men who reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package.

USA Ahmad Khan Rahami wird festgenommen

‘Not succumb to fear’

President Barack Obama said Americans “must not succumb to fear” after the bombings during a news conference.

“Even as we have to be vigilant and aggressive both in preventing senseless acts of violence but also making sure that we find those who carry out such acts and bring them to justice, we all have a role to play as citizens in making sure that we don’t succumb to fear,” said Obama.

Obama added that investigators saw “no connection” at this moment between the bombings in New Jersey and New York and a stabbing in Minnesota.

The bombings and subsequent finds came just days before the annual General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.

Watch video02:31

First hand account of NYC blast

ipj,ss,jil/kbd,jm (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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US terror blasts suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami in custody

 

Media captionFootage from WABC shows the suspect being loaded into an ambulance

A man suspected of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey is in custody after a shootout with police that began when he was found asleep in a doorway.

Afghan-born Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, is undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound after the confrontation in New Jersey.

Republican Donald Trump immediately seized on the news as vindication of his hard line on immigration and vowed to defeat “radical Islamic terrorism”.

The FBI said no other suspect was being sought over the weekend’s blasts.

A huge manhunt was sparked on Monday after police publicly identified Mr Rahami as chief suspect.

Officers have refused to discuss what led them to him but senior law enforcement officials have told US media that a fingerprint collected from an unexploded device in New Jersey was key.

Linden Mayor Derek Armstead said the suspect was found sleeping in the doorway of Merdie’s Tavern in Linden, New Jersey.

When a police officer went to investigate and wake him, the suspect fired on him and two police officers suffered injuries, before his arrest.

He was later charged with five counts of attempted murder of police officers over the shootout, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors are still determining charges over the New York-area bombings, the AP reported.

Media captionA bomb disposal robot tried to disarm a device in Elizabeth

At a rally in Florida later on Monday, Mr Trump said Mr Rahami would be indulged by US authorities and this was evidence the country had become weak.

“Now we will give him amazing hospitalisation. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world.”

He repeated calls for “extreme vetting” that would include an assessment of whether potential immigrants share American values.

Mr Trump also addressed revelations that the Department of Homeland Security mistakenly granted US citizenship to at least 858 immigrants who came from “special interest countries”, which present a security concern or have high rates of immigration fraud.

He warned that Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s “open border” policy would only lead to more incidents such as the attacks in Minnesota and New York.

A week before the first debate between the two candidates, Mrs Clinton accused him of enabling terrorists and instead pledged to build trust between law enforcement and Muslim-American communities.

Reaction on Monday

Will NYC blasts affect race for White House?

What we know so far

Profile of Ahmad Khan Rahami

The FBI said they have evidence linking Mr Rahami to devices in both New Jersey and New York, but there was no indication a terror cell was active in the area.


What we know:

  • Ahmad Kham Rahami has been arrested in connection with the New York and New Jersey blasts
  • He is a naturalised US citizen born in Afghanistan

What we do not know:

  • Motivation for the attacks or whether he was radicalised
  • Whether there is a link to the so-called Islamic State
  • How exactly authorities pinpointed Mr Rahami as the suspect behind the bombings

Police officers in the area where suspect was arrested in Linden, New JerseyImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe suspect was taken into custody on Elizabeth Avenue in Linden, according to reports

The bombing in the Chelsea district on Saturday night injured 29 people. An unexploded device was found nearby.

Other devices have been found or have exploded in New Jersey over the past few days.

Early on Saturday, a pipe bomb exploded in a shore town ahead of a charity race. No-one was hurt.

One of several devices found in an abandoned backpack near the railway station in Elizabeth exploded as a police robot was trying to disarm it in the early hours of Monday morning.

Map showing locations of arrest, and home, in New Jersey, and explosions in Manhattan

Local residents in Elizabeth, who had encountered Mr Rahami in his work at the family’s fried chicken bar, said the family were ordinary and “Americanised”.

“He’s a very friendly guy, that’s what’s so scary,” said Ryan McCann.

President Barack Obama, speaking in New York, said officials did not believe there was a connection between events in New York and New Jersey and a stabbing attack in Minnesota, also on Saturday, in which nine people were injured.

That attack was apparently carried out by a 22-year-old ethnic Somali.

The president said that the US would continue to go after so-called Islamic State (IS).

“We will continue to lead the global coalition and the fight to destroy Isil [IS] which is instigating a lot of people over the internet to carry out attacks,” he said.

Knife attacker shot dead at Minnesota mall

At least eight people have been hospitalized after a knife-wielding attacker went on a rampage at a mall in the US state of Minnesota. The assailant was reportedly shot dead by an off-duty police officer.

USA St. Cloud Messerangriff in Mall

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Mass killers inspire ‘copycat’ attackers

St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said early Sunday that all eight people admitted to the hospital were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries after an unidentified suspected began stabbing people at a shopping mall in St. Cloud, a city of about 65,000 people.

IS-linked media claimed the perpetrator was “soldier of the Islamic State.”

Authorities had said earlier that they were investigating the possibility that the attack was motivated by religious extremism. The assailant “made some references to Allah,” Anderson told reporters. “We have confirmed that he asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he assaulted them.”

“We will be diligent and get to the bottom of this,” the chief said.

The assailant was reportedly shot and killed by an off-duty police officer who authorities declined to identify.

Bystander Harley Exsted told the St. Cloud Times newspaper that the attack sparked a panic inside the Crossroads Center shopping mall that’s about 110 kilometers (70 miles) northwest of the state’s largest city Minneapolis.

“All of a sudden I heard pop, pop, pop,” he told the newspaper. “I thought someone tipped over a shelf. All of a sudden these people started running. I just saw everybody running our way.”

The mall was locked down after the attack. Anderson, the police chief, says investigators are trying to gather the facts before jumping to conclusions. He said the investigation has just beginning and that “whether that was a terrorist attack or not, I’m not willing to say that right now because we just don’t know.”

jar/rc (AP, AFP)