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Dortmund bus attack was targeted, used serious explosives

German police said “an attack using serious explosives” was launched on the Borussia Dortmund soccer team’s bus on Tuesday, leaving one player injured and in need of surgery.

The bus had set off from the team hotel in Dortmund for the Borussia stadium about 10 kilometres away when “three explosive charges detonated,” said a police spokesman.

The bus windows were shattered and the bus was burned on the right-hand side.

Defender Marc Bartra was taken to hospital where the Spain international player underwent wrist surgery for a broken bone, Dortmund’s press spokesman confirmed.

Bartra, 26, joined Dortmund for eight million euros ($8.5 million) last year from Barcelona, after coming through the Catalan club’s youth system.

He has made 12 appearances for the Spanish national team.

The bus was hit by three blasts from devices planted in bushes at the roadside close to the team’s hotel, as the vehicle made its way to a quarter-final first leg Champions League game at home to AS Monaco.

The match was called off and rescheduled for Wednesday.

“The bus turned into the main street, when there was a huge boom, a real explosion,” Sky television quoted Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki as saying.

“I was sitting in the back row next to Marc Bartra, hit by fragments ... after the bang, we all ducked.”

Dortmund police said in a message on Twitter: “After the initial investigation, we assume that this was an attack using serious explosives.”

Police later said they still did not know who was behind the attack.

Police escort Dortmund's players after the team bus of Borussia Dortmund had some windows broken by an explosion
Police escort Dortmund's players after the team bus of Borussia Dortmund had some windows broken by an explosion PHOTO: AFP

“At this time, it is still not clear what the real background to this act is,” Dortmund police chief Gregor Lange told a news conference.

He said police assumed the team bus was deliberately targetted for the attack as it left the team hotel on the way to the stadium for a Champions League match later on Tuesday.

“The risk of a terrorist attack is not new today,” Lange added.

“We have been preparing for this for a long time. I do not want to suggest that this was a terrorist attack. All that is still being investigated. We want to be careful. It is being investigated very professionally.”

An official for the state prosecutor’s office said that a letter was found near the blast site but that it was unclear if the letter was authentic.

She declined to provide any details about the contents of the letter.

The stadium, which is the largest in Germany and holds more than 80,000 spectators, emptied quickly and without incident.

Police escort Dortmund's players after the team bus of Borussia Dortmund had some windows broken by an explosion
Police escort Dortmund's players after the team bus of Borussia Dortmund had some windows broken by an explosion PHOTO: AFP

“The explosive devices were placed outside the bus. Several windows were broken,” a police spokesman said.The incident was in the Hoechsten district in the south of the city of Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund’s managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke was quoted as telling Sky: “The whole team is in a state of shock.”

Police added: “Currently there is no evidence of a threat to the visitors at the stadium.”

AS Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic told Croatian newspaper 24sata: “We are currently in the stadium, in a safe place, but the feeling’s horrible.”

- REUTERS

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