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

BERLIN, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Cables vital to the rail network were deliberately cut at two locations, halting all rail traffic in northern Germany for nearly three hours on Saturday morning, in what authorities called an unidentified act of sabotage. Be responsible.

Federal police are investigating the incident, Interior Minister Nancy Fesser said, adding that the motive is unclear.

The disruption raised alarm bells last month after NATO and the European Union stressed the need to protect critical infrastructure following what they called acts of sabotage on the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

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“It is clear that this was a targeted and malicious action,” Transport Minister Volker Wissing told a news conference.

A security source said there are several possible reasons, from cable theft to a targeted attack.

Omid Nouripour, leader of the Greens party, which is part of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s federal coalition, said anyone attacking the country’s critical infrastructure would receive a “decisive response”.

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

Confusion before Election Day

“Due to vandalism on cables indispensable for rail traffic, Deutsche Bahn had to suspend northbound rail traffic for approximately three hours this morning,” the state rail operator said in a statement.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) had earlier blamed the network disruption on a technical problem with radio communications. At 6:40 a.m. (0440 GMT), communications systems were down, Spiegel magazine said. At 11:06am, DB tweeted that services had been restored, but warned of train cancellations and delays.

The disruption affected rail services through the states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, as well as the city states of Bremen and Hamburg, affecting international rail travel to Denmark and the Netherlands.

It comes a day before state elections in Lower Saxony where Scholz’s Social Democrats are on course to retain power and polls show the Greens doubling their vote share.

Queues quickly formed at mainline stations including Berlin and Hannover as departure boards revealed many services had been delayed or cancelled.

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Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke and Christian Ruettger; Edited by David Holmes and Mark Potter

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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