Prosecutors see Islamist link in station bomb

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Associated Press

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 14 at 10:06 AM

BERLIN (AP) — A radical Islamic terrorist group is suspected of being behind an attempted bombing this week at a railway station in Bonn, German prosecutors said Friday.

The device was found on a platform at the former German capital's main train station Monday and destroyed. It contained four butane gas cartridges and a metal pipe containing ammonium nitrate — a white, crystalline powder that is used in explosives — along with an alarm clock and three batteries that prosecutors say were supposed to serve as a triggering device.

Federal prosecutors, who in Germany handle terrorism cases, said they were taking over the case because there was sufficient evidence the incident was an attempted attack by a radical Islamic group. They didn't identify any specific group.

A man suspected of leaving the blue bag in which the device was found has links to Islamic radicals, prosecutors said. They did not elaborate.

On Tuesday, police briefly detained a local Islamic radical who they said bore some resemblance to a sketch of the person that witnesses said left the bomb, along with an acquaintance, but they were released for lack of evidence.

It remains unclear why the device failed to detonate but local investigators who initially handled the case said if it did go off, it would have triggered a dangerous explosion and a large fireball.

Germany has seen only one successful attack by an Islamic radical so far— the fatal shooting of two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt airport last year by a Kosovo native who grew up in Germany and became radicalized on his own by watching jihadist propaganda on the Internet.

However, there have been several attempted attacks. The Bonn case evokes memories of a 2006 incident in which two young Lebanese men planted suitcase bombs on a pair of German trains. The bombs' triggers went off, but the explosives did not detonate and no one was harmed.

Since Germany is a major contributor to international forces in Afghanistan it's a general target for jihadist terrorism, the interior ministry said Thursday, but added there was no indication of any danger to any specific target in the country.

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