‘Malicious and targeted’ sabotage halts rail transport in northern Germany

BERLIN, Oct 8 (Reuters) – All train traffic in northern Germany was halted for nearly three hours on Saturday morning after attackers cut critical cables to the rail network at two locations, in what officials called sabotage, without identifying who. Responsible.

The Federal Police has launched an investigation into the incident, Transport Minister Volker Wissing told a press conference. “This is clearly a targeted and malicious act,” he said.

The disruption immediately raised alarm bells after NATO and the European Union last month stressed the need to protect critical infrastructure after what they called “sabotage” on Nord Stream gas pipelines.

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“We can’t say much at the moment, it’s too early,” said a security source, who declined to be named. The source said that a serious investigation has been launched into the incident and that there are various reasons ranging from a simple cable theft – which is common these days – to a targeted attack.

Neither the central police nor the home ministry immediately responded to requests for comment.

State rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) said in a statement: “Due to vandalism on cables vital to rail traffic, Deutsche Bahn had to stop train traffic in the north for almost three hours this morning.”

DB earlier attributed the network disruption to a technical problem with radio communications. Train services were still erratic on Saturday afternoon after the rerouting, with warnings of train cancellations and delays.

The disruptions affected train services through Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein and the city states of Bremen and Hamburg, with a knock-on effect on international train journeys to Denmark and the Netherlands.

Queues quickly formed at major stations including Berlin and Hannover as departure boards showed many services being delayed or cancelled. Station staff tried to advise passengers as the delay continued.

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Sarah Marsh reports; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke and Christian Ruettger; Editing by Catherine Evans and David Holmes

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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