Germany eyes possible political motive in railway sabotage

October 10, 2022 GMT
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"Stay train" is written on display boards at Hamburg Central Station after long-distance traffic in northern Germany came to a standstill in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, Oct.8, 2022. According to Deutsche Bahn, a technical malfunction is currently causing a complete standstill in long-distance traffic in northern Germany. All ICE as well as IC and EC trains in northern Germany are affected, Deutsche Bahn announced on Saturday morning. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)
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"Stay train" is written on display boards at Hamburg Central Station after long-distance traffic in northern Germany came to a standstill in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, Oct.8, 2022. According to Deutsche Bahn, a technical malfunction is currently causing a complete standstill in long-distance traffic in northern Germany. All ICE as well as IC and EC trains in northern Germany are affected, Deutsche Bahn announced on Saturday morning. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — German police said Monday they’re examining the possibility of a political motive in the suspected sabotage of a railway communication system over the weekend that brought trains to a standstill across the northwest of the country.

Officials say cables were severed deliberately in a Berlin suburb and in Herne in western Germany, sites that are 440 kilometers (275 miles) apart.

Trains in the northwestern states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Bremen were halted for nearly three hours on Saturday morning. Railway operator Deutsche Bahn said that was necessary because a digital train radio system failed.

Authorities opened an investigation into suspicion of dangerous interference with rail traffic.

Police in the western city of Bochum said Monday that their state protection unit is conducting the investigation “because a political motivation is also being examined.” They didn’t elaborate on what that potential motivation might have been.