There was more than two explosions which damaged the bus of one of Germany’s most storied soccer teams.
This happened as it headed to its stadium in Dortmund on Tuesday, injuring one player thereby forcing postponement of the match.
The match was suppose to be an important playoff in a major European championship
The German police are investigating a possible Islamic extremist link to the bombing of the Borussia Dortmund football team’s bus, German media say.
A letter found near the scene cites the Berlin Christmas market attack and military operations in Syria.
It is not yet clear if the letter is genuine.
Meanwhile, German federal prosecutors, who normally lead investigations related to terrrorism, are taking over the probe.
Sport | Borussia Dortmund attack | Police investigate Islamist link | BBC
German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the letter, beginning with the phrase “in the name of Allah”, mentioned Germany’s use of Tornado jets in the coalition forces fighting so-called Islamic State (IS).
IS said it carried out the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.
But it is possible the perpetrators are deliberately trying to mislead the investigation, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, adding that an analysis of the letter by experts is under way.
The German news agency DPA also reported there is a second letter circulating online, claiming an anti-fascist group had carried out the attack.
The second letter, posted on an anti-fascism online portal, claimed the attack was motivated by the club’s alleged tolerance for racists and right-wing fans. The club has clamped down on such fans in the past.
Borussia Dortmund were on their way to their home Champions League quarter-final match against Monaco, when “three explosive charges detonated”, police said.
Pictures from the scene showed the bus’s windows broken and tyres burst in the blasts.
Player Marc Bartra underwent an operation after breaking a bone in his wrist. No other players were hurt, but a police officer on a motorbike escorting the bus was also wounded.
In a news conference, the head of Dortmund police said it was a targeted attack. Several reports said the explosives had been hidden in a hedge.
Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki told Swiss news outlet Blick that the bus had turned on to the main road when there was a loud noise.
The players ducked to the floor of the bus, not knowing if there would be any more, he said.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Borussia Dortmund defender and Spain international Marc Bartra was injured
Captain Marcel Schmelzer added “we’re all in shock” but their thoughts were with their injured colleague.
Fans already at the 80,000-capacity Signal Iduna Park were told to stay there until it was safe to leave.
The stadium was later evacuated safely.
Who is behind the attack?
There are two competing claims from groups saying they carried out the attack, but there is no official comment from the police yet.
Despite the apparent claim of an Islamist motive, the attack does not have much in common with previous such attacks, says the BBC’s correspondent in Berlin, Damien McGuinness.
The explosives were not designed to cause maximum damage in a crowd – or to target the stadium itself, which is several kilometres away.
Our correspondent says it could be an attack by right-wing extremists. Borussia Dortmund has been plagued recently with violent hooliganism.
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A recent clampdown led to stadium bans, which then resulted to death threats in February for one manager, he says.
Those issues were reflected in the second letter, circulated online through an anti-fascist portal, which referenced the club’s allegedly soft policies on “racists, Nazis, and right-wing populists”.
The first letter found at the scene is being authenticated, and police say it also claims the attack.
What about the match?
The match was postponed until 18:45 local time (16:45 GMT) on Wednesday.
“As many officers as possible” would be deployed for the rescheduled game, police said.
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said he was “deeply disturbed by the explosions”
The decision to postpone “was the correct one since we must always prioritise the safety and security of all fans, team officials and players”, he said.
Borussia Dortmund said the attitude within the team was “to play the match tomorrow for Marc”.
Media captionA journalist for German news publisher Bild Online tells the BBC of shock in the stadium
How have people reacted?
Monaco fans at the stadium were praised for their chants of support for Dortmund.
Social media also carried offers from Dortmund residents to Monaco fans in need of a bed for the night on #bedforawayfans.
FC Barcelona, Bartra’s former club, tweeted: “All of our support to @MarcBartra, @BVB and their fans.”
Fifa president Gianni Infantino said the football organising body condemned the incident and wished Bartra a “speedy recovery”.