PICS: ‘Serious explosives’ used in Dortmund attack

World Leagues

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

Defender Marc Bartra was taken to hospital.

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The Borussia Dortmund team bus is seen after an explosion near their hotel before the gameBorussia Dortmund's Felix Passlack with Police after an explosion by the Borussia Dortmund team bus near their hotel before the gameThe Borussia Dortmund team bus is seen after an explosion near their hotel before the gameA Police motorcylce with the Borussia Dortmund team bus after an explosion near their hotel before the gameA police dog handler near the Borussia Dortmund team hotel after an explosion before the gameBorussia Dortmund fans after the game was called off due to an explosion by the Borussia Dortmund team bus before the matchBorussia Dortmund's Marc Bartra. Photo: Susana Vera/Reuters

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 Champions League quarter-final first leg 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.”

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

“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 Marc Bartra. Photo: Susana Vera, Reuters

The explosions came shortly after 7pm local time on Wittbraeucker Strasse, around 10 kilometres from the Dortmund stadium Signal Iduna Park.

According to the police, three explosive devices were detonated near the team bus while it was en route. Several of the vehicles’ window panes were broken.

In the aftermath of the explosions, the Dortmund team was taken back to the team hotel.

“For security reasons, we do not want to announce the next steps in the procedure,” added Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.

Bartra, 26, joined Dortmund for eight million euros (around R117.2 million) last year from Barcelona, after coming through the Catalan club’s youth system. He has made 12 appearances for the Spanish national team.

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.”

Dortmund and UEFA later said that the match would go ahead on Wednesday at 4.45pm GMT (6.45pm SA time).

A window of Dortmund’s team bus is damaged after an explosion on Tuesday. Photo: Martin Meissner, AP

An attack of this nature is unprecedented in German club football.

The national team, which included some current Dortmund players, were involved in the November 13 terror attacks on Paris in 2015.

The German team spent the night at the Stade de France, on police advice, following their friendly defeat to hosts France and flew home the next morning.

Four days later the Germany-Netherlands friendly in Hanover was called off at short notice through fear of a terror attack.

Reuters, AFP

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