Terrorism as Motive
German Investigators Pursue Suspect in Foiled Train Attack
Last month, two bombs rigged from gas canisters and hidden in suitcases were found on regional trains in the western German cities of Koblenz and Dortmund. Police are now convinced the devices were part of a foiled terrorist plot and they have identified a prime suspect.
The German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday that police investigators have now identified a suspect in the foiled terrorist plot that was uncovered late last month. The makeshift bombs, consisting of gas cylinders and detonators, were found in suitcases placed on regional trains in western Germany on 31 July, 2006. The devices were discovered when the trains stopped in the cities of Koblenz and Dortmund.
The suspect identified by the police is thought to have deposited at least one of the two bombs. Security experts believe that the bombs were almost certainly part of a clear "terrorist plot," according to the Friday edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. There had been some speculation that the explosive devices might have been part of an extortion ploy, similar to a real bomb threat that cleared the Dresden train station a few years ago.
The suspect has been identified following the police's evaluation of the security camera footage shot on the train platform. But little is still known about the man's background and motives and he remains at large. Security officials have also indicated that a second person may have been involved in planning the foiled bombings, according to the paper.
Investigations by technical experts from Germany's federal police have shown that the two bombs were to be detonated simultaneously, and that they were correctly wired and would in fact have exploded. "Their explosive force would have been so great that the explosion would have been on the same scale as the subway attacks in London in the summer of 2005," a high-ranking security official told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The London attacks on three subways trains and a public bus took place on July 7, 2005 and left a toll of 52 dead and 700 injured.
The foiled terrorist attack is probably not related to the recent military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, according to the security sources. German police investigators discovered a plastic bag with Arabic lettering in one of the two suitcases. The bag has been traced to a store in the Lebanese capital Beirut. But such bags have been imported to Germany in large number in recent months, so that police investigators do not believe the foiled attacks can be tied to Lebanon.