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Leftist extremists claim rail arson attacks

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Leftist extremists claim rail arson attacks
13:53 CEST+02:00
Train services between Berlin and Hamburg were severely disrupted on Monday after a sabotage attack on rail lines claimed by leftist extremists. Federal police also said they had foiled an arson attack on the German capital's main train station.

Reporting the incident at the central station, used by thousands of people each day, the daily Der Tagesspiegel said that an attack had been thwarted at the last minute when a member of staff found several suspect objects. Investigation showed them to be incendiary agents.

“The objects were suspiciously like those which were found by the attack on the Berlin-Hamburg train track,” said a spokeswoman for the police. The train station was not evacuated, but the discovered objects were taken for investigation.

An arson attack on cables crucial to the rail link from Berlin to Hamburg early on Monday morning caused what was described as massive damage along the stretch between Brieseland and Finkenkrug stations.

Signalling was totally knocked out said a police spokesman, making it impossible for the high-speed ICE train services to run there, according to Der Tagesspiegel.

Passengers had to expect at least an hour's delay as trains were diverted along a longer route where they could not reach top speeds. The repairs were expected to last all day, while police also conducted a search for evidence and started their investigation.

Leftist extremists claimed responsibility for the train track attack in a long email sent to a range of media outlets. The group calls itself the Hekla reception committee, taking the name of an Icelandic volcano and saying they are in favour of more social eruptions.

They spoke of attacks which forced Berlin to slow down – to protest ten years of war in Afghanistan, while also calling for American soldier Bradley Manning, jailed for leaking US military information, to be released.

A similar arson attack on a regional train track switching box knocked out train and phone services for large parts of Berlin at the end of May and was later claimed by a leftist group also calling itself after an Icelandic volcano – Eyjafjallajökull, which caused global transport problems when its ash cloud crippled air traffic last year.

The Local/hc

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