‘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 cables critical to the rail network were deliberately cut at two locations, in what officials, without identifying who, called sabotage. Be responsible.

Interior Minister Nancy Fesser said federal police were investigating the incident, which said the motive was unclear.

The disruption raised alarm bells after NATO and the European Union last month stressed the need to protect critical infrastructure after so-called acts of sabotage at Nord Stream gas pipelines.

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“It is clear that this is a targeted and malicious act,” Transport Minister Volker Wissing told a press conference.

A security source said there are various possible reasons, ranging from cable theft – which happens frequently – to a targeted attack.

Green Party leader Omit Nuripour, who is part of President Olaf Scholes’ federal coalition, said anyone attacking the country’s critical infrastructure would “get a decisive response”.

“We will not be afraid,” he wrote on Twitter.

Confusion before election day

“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,” the state rail operator said in a statement.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) earlier blamed the network disruption on a technical problem with radio communications. The Spiegel newspaper said the communications system went down around 6:40 a.m. (0440 GMT). At 11:06 a.m., DB tweeted that traffic had cleared, but warned of continued train cancellations and delays.

The disruption 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.

They came the day before a state election in Lower Saxony, where Scholz’s Social Democrats are on course to retain power and polls show the Greens doubling their votes.

Queues quickly formed at major stations including Berlin and Hannover as departure boards showed many services being delayed or cancelled.

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Sarah Marsh reports; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke and Christian Ruettger; Editing by David Holmes and Mark Potter

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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