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'Islamists' behind botched Bonn bombing
Police investigate contents of the bag on Monday. Photo: DPA

'Islamists' behind botched Bonn bombing

Published: 15 Dec 2012 09:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Dec 2012 09:30 GMT+01:00

German prosecutors said on Friday they believed Islamist extremists were behind a botched bomb attack at Bonn train station. Media reports suggested the detonation device was triggered but for some reason the bomb did not go off.

The federal prosecutor said in a statement that there was enough evidence to suggest Monday's incident was "an attempted explosives attack by a terrorist organisation with a radical Islamist bent."

It added that there was serious evidence "that the suspicious person has connections in radical Islamist circles," but gave no details. The prosecutor's office, which is responsible for probing matters of terrorism, has taken over the investigation.

The blue sports bag was discovered on Monday on a train platform at the station in western Germany containing an improvised explosive device.

Its contents included four pressure gas canisters, a 40-centimetre long metal pipe, batteries, a clock and ammonium nitrate.

The bomb's detonation device was triggered but for some reason failed to go off, according to reports by broadcaster Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR) and Der Spiegel magazine on Friday – probably because it was put together in the wrong way.

Investigators told Der Spiegel they believed traces of gun powder found in the bag along with batteries that had used up their charge suggested the bomb had been triggered, a theory which police said they were unable to confirm or deny.

"Why the explosive device did not detonate, requires further investigation," the prosecutor's statement said.

One theory goes that the bomb failed to go off because the would-be bombers used the filament from a light bulb found at the scene of the crime instead of a “booster” to amplify the explosion, wrote the magazine.

According to WDR, the unknown perpetrator dumped the blue bag on the platform then quickly disappeared in order to detonate the bomb from a safe distance. Its discovery sparked the complete evacuation of Bonn station.

Authorities said on Wednesday that if the explosive had gone off, it could have had a similar effect to the 2004 al-Qaida bombing in Madrid, which killed 191 people.

"It was an extremely dangerous explosive device," said state prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum.

Norbert Wagner, who headed the investigation for Cologne police, told reporters on Wednesday that had the gas exploded and caused the ammonium nitrate to ignite, "there would have been a significant explosion ... that of course would have caused considerable harm to people."

On Tuesday, police arrested two men, one with links to an extremist Salafist group, but released them, and a day later announced they were looking for two men in connection with the incident.

Since Thursday police have been searching for an important witness, the man who alerted train station employees to the unattended bag on platform one on Monday.

Cologne police say the witness is around 40 years-old, with a European appearance, short blonde hair and a slight speech impediment.

In July 2006 Islamist militants placed suitcases with homemade bombs on two regional trains at nearby Cologne's main station. They failed to detonate, averting an almost certain bloodbath.

AFP/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:35 December 15, 2012 by auslanderus
The writer forgot to tell how the next time to make the bomb go off. Maybe the writer needs to show them how to do it right and in the process blow himself up also. What a dumm arsch.
13:46 December 15, 2012 by jmclewis
Perhaps the writer could refer to a You Tube instructional video.
15:17 December 15, 2012 by raandy
when I read this I thought the same about the writer explaining how to it better next time,

Good move EX-Lax

This time we all were fortunate, next time we can only hope. The need for better intel is a must.

These extremist are not true believers, and take away from those that are.This does not advance their cause, only intensifies the dislike and mistrust of their warped cause.
15:37 December 15, 2012 by analyzer
this sounds cheap movie.. how come no video captures except that video of the white with the red beard in der spiegel.. hey germany stop this cheap thing, your people are not that dumm!
19:37 December 15, 2012 by lordkorner
I was thinking the same and wondered if the would be bombers read the local maybe they'd take note and not make the same mistake next time....The Local where journalist must have home made bomb know how...
03:30 December 16, 2012 by Darthkuriboh
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:20 December 16, 2012 by Zubair Khan
@Darthkuriboh

As usual the whole story will end to have a link with Islam. For God sake stop involving religion in whole mess. If at all some one involved is Muslim he or she did it at his/her own. Not that religion Islam taught him/her to do so. Take the culprit to the task and if any outfit is involved ban it but please do not blame or down grade religion Islam or all Muslims.
01:30 December 17, 2012 by Eric1
Oh, the media in America is so disappointed that it wasn't some "Caucasian Christian" to blame. It's another story they will have to ignore for the sake of diversity, tolerance, and multiculturalism.
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