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German police suspect 'political arson' after rail cables go up flames

German police suspect 'political arson' after rail cables go up flames
Illustration photo of trains in Germany. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

Police opened an investigation Friday after conduits holding railway cables went up in flames in a suspected politically motivated crime that seriously disrupted train traffic in northern Germany.

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Fire had broken out overnight at three locations in the Hamburg region.

Investigators "believe that the fires were set deliberately," said police from the port city in a statement.

"Police believe that a political motive lies behind the crime and are seeking witnesses," they added.

The damage wrought chaos on local and long-distance rail traffic, with several trains on the busy Berlin-Hamburg line cancelled, while other connections faced long delays.

An anonymous letter published on far-left website Indymedia claimed responsibility for the action, saying that the "sabotage" was carried out as a protest against "neo-colonial exploitation and earth destroying extraction of raw materials".

The rail disruption in northern Germany came a day after train transport in the southern city of Munich ground to a halt because of damage to an overhead electric line.

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Police in Munich said they are investigating a 25-year-old excavator driver who is believed to have torn off the line while carrying out construction works at a regional rail stop.

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