Thu, 13 Apr 2017 19:16 UTC
The Federal Prosecutor's Office (GBA) said in a statement on Thursday it has issued an arrest warrant against a 26-year-old Iraqi national, identified as Abdul Beset A., on suspicion of having links to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
The suspect was earlier detained in connection with the bombing of a bus carrying the Borussia Dortmund football team to a Champions League game against AS Monaco. The GBA's statement noted investigators have so far produced "no evidence" of the suspect's direct involvement in the attack.
However, it is strongly suspected that Abdul Beset A. joined IS in late 2014 in Iraq. Later, he led a unit of 10 militants whose task was "to prepare and execute abductions, extortions and killings."
In March 2015, he traveled to Turkey and then arrived in Germany at the beginning of 2016, the GBA said. The suspect maintained contact with IS even from inside Germany, it added.
Tuesday's bus blast involved three explosives hidden in a hedge and remotely triggered as the vehicle left Borussia Dortmund's hotel and headed for the stadium 10km (6 miles) away. One of the team's players was injured as the blast shattered the windows at the back of the bus.
The investigation stated that the team had been deliberately targeted by pipe bombs packed with sharp metal contents. The Prosecutor's Office later classified the incident as a terrorist attack.
Comment: German prosecutors say there is no evidence that an Iraqi man detained after bomb blasts hit a top soccer team's bus was involved in the attack.
However, they said in a statement that "so far the investigation has turned up no evidence that the suspect participated in the attack" in Dortmund on April 11.See also: Bomb scare: Triple blasts near Borussia Dortmund football team bus - Update
They have asked a court to keep him in investigative detention.
Update: It still isn't clear who was responsible, as there have been multiple claims for responsibility:
Three identical letters found at the scene of the bomb blasts claimed the attack was carried out "in the name of Allah," but have been treated with skepticism by both investigating police and prosecutors.And get this: the explosives used may have been German military.
The wording of the three identical letters immediately raised suspicions as they do not fit the MO of extremist terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
Specific threats to sportspeople and other celebrities as well as demands for the closure of Ramstein Air Base and the withdrawal of German planes from Syria stood out as atypical to federal prosecutors investigating the case.
The wording and target choice have prompted speculation that the letters were decoys intended to deflect attention away from the real perpetrators.
"It is indeed doubtful," Frauke Koehler, a spokeswoman for the federal public prosecutor's office, said when asked to comment on the authenticity of the letters as cited by Sky News. She would not make any further comment on the matter as the investigation is ongoing.
The German newspaper, Tagesspiegel, claims to have received an anonymous email from a far-right group also claiming responsibility for Tuesday's attack which left Spanish defender Marc Bartra with a broken wrist and led to one police officer being treated for shock.
The emailed note allegedly claimed there would be another attack on Saturday, April 22 with the threat being investigated by German federal prosecutors.
The message reportedly criticized the German government's stance on multiculturalism, references Adolf Hitler, and claims a "Cologne squad" is poised to spill "colorful blood." This may be a specific reference to a pro-tolerance rally scheduled to take place in Cologne next week, reports DW.
Investigators also received a claim of responsibility from a far-left group but have dismissed it as inauthentic.
Further intrigue has emerged in the case, as the detonators used in the attack were allegedly military-grade, reports Reuters citing a source close to the investigation.
"The technically perfect construction of the explosive devices in Dortmund, which could have attacked any vehicle on any other road in Germany, is really worrying," Bavaria's Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann, told local German news outlet Welt am Sonntag.
The explosives used in the attack on the Borussia Dortmund team bus may have come from the German military, local media report, citing sources close to the investigation.Update (April 21): German police arrested a suspect, a German-Russian who they say was planning a financial scam (i.e., no terrorism involved) using the football club's market shares:
Around 100 investigators from the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) are looking into the incident, one of whom spoke to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Saturday.
"The explosives in the pipe bombs, which were filled with metal pins, might have come from the stocks of the Bundeswehr [German armed forces], but that's still being checked," the newspaper quoted the anonymous investigator as saying.
The source added that specialized training was needed to use the military detonators, which are hard to acquire.
The 28-year-old suspect was arrested by the German GSG 9 elite counter-terrorist unit on Friday morning, near the university town of Tubingen, the Federal Prosecutor's Office (GBA) confirmed in a statement.
The man, identified in local media as German-Russian dual citizen Sergey W., was charged with attempted murder as well as inflicting serious bodily harm through the use of explosives.
Financial motives are now thought to have been behind the triple bombing on the Borussia Dortmund football team last week, which happened as the team made its way to its home stadium for the Champions League quarter-final match against French team Monaco.
The prosecutor's office says Sergey W. had bought 15,000 shares in the club just before the bombing, and planned to speculate on them if the stock price plummeted.
The so-called 'put options' he bought would have allowed him to sell the shares at a pre-determined price, entitling him to as much as $4.3 million (€4 million) if their value fell, according to Bild.
The investigators also say the man bought the shares while staying in L'Arrivee hotel - where Dortmund players were staying before their match - citing examination of his IP address.
He was also booked into the same hotel during the day of the attack, and his room overlooked the street where the explosions hit the bus. The blast injured Dortmund player Marc Bartra and a police officer. The GBA's statement said that the bus had no armored protection or bulletproof windows.
Speaking at a news conference later on Friday, GBA spokesperson Frauke Koehler said that searches had taken place in four different cities, though investigators had found no evidence that the suspect had an accomplice.
Police had also found various communication devices in the suspect's apartment, she said, adding that the explosives he had used left "minimal residue," which complicates any further investigation.
Citing its own sources, Germany's Der Spiegel weekly reported that the suspect was conscripted into the German Army and served between April and December 2008.
However, the outlet says that it's still unclear where the suspect learnt how to handle explosives, as he actually served in a medical regiment in the town of Dornstadt, where he was responsible for electrical maintenance engineering.
Earlier reports suggested the explosives used in the attacks could have come from the German military. The investigators have not confirmed this, however, saying they have no "exact data" on the nature of the explosives.
A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Germany, Denis Mikerin, said the mission is verifying the suspect's Russian citizenship.
"At the moment, we are checking whether or not he is a Russian citizen," Mikerin said, as cited by RIA Novosti. "If confirmed, our consulate is ready to render necessary support to him."
The spokesman added that the suspect had not contacted the Russian consulate in Bonn.
It is yet to be established if the explosive devices used in the attack, packed with nails to increase the effect, were detonated remotely from inside the hotel. It is reportedly likely that Sergey W. stayed at the L'Arrivee even after the blast.
Following the explosion, which caused panic and chaos among terrified hotel guests, the suspect went to the L'Arrivee restaurant and ordered a steak, Bild reported.