Borussia Dortmund team bus bombing

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Borussia Dortmund team bus bombing
Anschlag auf den Mannschaftsbus von Borussia Dortmund 011.jpg
The hedge damaged by the blasts
Dortmund is located in North Rhine-Westphalia
Dortmund (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Dortmund is located in Germany
Dortmund (Germany)
LocationDortmund, Germany
Coordinates51°26′59″N 7°30′22″E / 51.44972°N 7.50611°E / 51.44972; 7.50611
Date11 April 2017 (2017-04-11)
19:15[1][2] CEST (UTC+2)
TargetBorussia Dortmund team
Attack type
Weapons3 explosives
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrator
Sergej W.
MotiveMarket manipulation

On 11 April 2017, the tour bus of German football team Borussia Dortmund was attacked with roadside bombs in Dortmund, Germany. Three bombs exploded as the bus ferried the team to the Westfalenstadion for the first leg of their quarter-final against Monaco in the UEFA Champions League. One of the team's players, Marc Bartra, and a policeman were wounded, but the strengthened windows of the bus prevented casualties.

The initial line of inquiry assumed that it was an Islamist terrorist attack due to letters found at the scene, which claimed the attack was an act of retaliation for Muslims killed in the German military intervention against Islamic State, and threatened further attacks unless Germany withdraws and the US military base in Ramstein is shut down. However, discrepancies in the evidence eventually led investigators to consider it a false flag attack. Additional claims of responsibility, supposedly from far-left and far-right groups, were also investigated.

On 21 April 2017, German police arrested a man on suspicion of planting bombs to drive down the Borussia Dortmund share price and profit by put warrants he bought prior to the attack.[3]


The team bus of Borussia Dortmund was attacked with three homemade pipe bombs while on its way to Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. The bombs were hidden in hedges by the roadside and detonated at around 19:15 local time (17:15 UTC).[1][2] They were packed with sharp metal pins and had a reach of about 100 meters (109 yards). Based on the type of detonator and explosive involved, German authorities assume "terrorist involvement".[4] The bombs used military detonators and the explosives may have come from military stocks.[5] Spanish footballer and Dortmund's team member Marc Bartra was wounded by shards of glass from the shattered bus window; he was taken to a nearby hospital where his right wrist was immediately operated on.[6] A policeman suffered blast injury and shock; he was escorting the bus on a motorcycle.[7]

At the time, the bus was on its way to the first leg of Borussia Dortmund's 2016–17 UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Monaco at the Signal Iduna Park; the match was rescheduled for the following day.[8]

The team bus of Borussia Dortmund in 2015


The German police and state lawyers are treating it as attempted murder and a planned attack on Borussia Dortmund. There were three claims of responsibility: one left at the scene claiming an Islamist motive, one posted on the internet claiming an 'anti-fascist' motive[6][9] (which was deemed to be fake),[10] and one later sent to a newspaper claiming a far-right motive. The German Federal Prosecutor's Office initially called the attack an act of terrorism with possible Islamist involvement.[11] The Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia called the attack "professional".[12] Police are investigating whether it was an attack by Islamists, by the far-left or by the far-right.[13] According to German media, investigators are also considering whether a foreign security service was behind the bombing.[14]

Claims of responsibility[edit]

There were three differing claims of responsibility. The first claim was found in three identical letters left at the scene. The letters said the attack was retaliation for German military intervention against Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, accusing it of being responsible for killing Muslims. It demanded that the US military base in Ramstein be shut down and the German Tornado jets be withdrawn from Syria. It threatened further attacks on non-Muslim celebrities in Germany unless the demands are met.[9][15] The letters were seen as unusual, as previous ISIS-linked attacks in Europe did not come with such confessions. Unlike previous video claims of responsibility, the letters directly addressed the German chancellor and had no religious justifications, ISIS logo, or signature.[16] German newspapers later reported that investigators had "significant doubts" over the letters' authenticity, and suggested they may have been written to frame Islamists.[17][18]

Another claim was posted on the left-wing, open-publishing website IndyMedia. It said the attack was committed because Borussia Dortmund did not do enough against racists, Nazis, and right-wing populists within its fanbase.[9] The claim was removed as fake, and police also treated it as fake.[10]

A few days later, a third claim of responsibility was sent to the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, which hinted at a far-right motive. The anonymous e-mail praised Adolf Hitler and attacked multiculturalism, adding that the attack was a "last warning".[17][19] A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutors said the claim was being investigated.[20] The letter also threatened another attack on protesters who plan to demonstrate against the Alternative for Germany party's conference in Cologne in 22 April.[21] Police also considered the possibility that the attack was carried out by the far-right in order to incite backlash against Muslims.[22]


In the initial stage of the investigation, the police identified two suspects and arrested one of them. The apartments of both suspects were searched.[11] The arrested suspect was an Iraqi immigrant living in Wuppertal and was suspected of being an Islamist extremist.[23][24] Police believe he led an ISIS unit in Iraq involved in killings, kidnappings, smuggling, and extortion.[25][26] However, police later concluded he was not responsible for the Dortmund bombing.[27][20]

On 21 April 2017, the federal prosecutor announced that it had arrested a 28-year-old German-Russian citizen, identified only as Sergej W., on suspicion of 20-fold attempted murder, bringing about an illegal detonation of explosives, and aggravated battery. The man had been staying at the Borussia team hotel. He planted explosives along the road where the team bus would later leave to the stadium. During check-in, he chose a room with a window facing the road so he would be able to remotely trigger the explosion when the bus passed by. It was revealed that on the day of the attack, he had bought put warrants for €78,000 from an investment bank using the internet connection in his hotel room. These would have made him a large profit of up to €3.9 million if Dortmund's share price were to plummet after a successful attack, but it only dropped by 5% after the attack and later recovered. The unusual transaction raised suspicion of money laundering with bank employees, prompting them to alert authorities and pass to them the identity of Sergej W., which led to his arrest. Police also said Sergej W. left letters at the scene of the crime to frame Muslims for the attack.[3]


The match was postponed until the following day at 18:45 local time (16:45 UTC), which resulted in a 3–2 win for Monaco.[28][6] Both Monaco and Dortmund fans united in friendship after the bombing. Many Dortmund fans, Germans and local hotels offered Monaco fans free food and places to stay for the night.[29] Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel expressed her appalled reaction to the attack.[30] The staff of Borussia Dortmund and former football player Lothar Matthäus criticized the short-term planning of UEFA.[31]


  1. ^ a b ""Targeted attack on the BVB Team Bus"". Borussia Dortmund. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b ""How it happened: Explosion hits Borussia Dortmund bus ahead of Champions League game"". Deutsche Welle. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Dortmund attack: man arrested on suspicion of share-dealing plot". The Guardian. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Dortmund bus attack: 1 detained, 'terrorist involvement' suspected". CNN. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Dortmund attack explosive 'from German military' - media". Die Welt. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Borussia Dortmund: Sprengstoffanschlag beim BVB – Was wir wissen, was nicht - WELT". DIE WELT. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  7. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Dortmund: Anschlag auf BVB-Bus - Ermittler nehmen Verdächtigen fest - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Panorama". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Anschlag auf Borussia Dortmund gibt Ermittlern Rätsel auf" (in German). Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Anschlag auf BVB-Bus: Ermittler prüfen zwei Bekennerschreiben - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Panorama". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Anschlag auf BVB: Ist Antifa-Bekennerschreiben ein Fake?". (in German). Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Anschlag in Dortmund: Zwei Verdächtige, eine Festnahme". (in German). 11 April 2017. ISSN 0174-4917. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Anschlag auf Fußballmannschaft: NRW-Innenminister: Bomben auf BVB-Bus waren sehr professionell". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 13 April 2017. ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  13. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "NRW-Innenminister Jäger über Anschlag in Dortmund: "Die Sprengkraft war enorm" - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Panorama". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  14. ^ "New message claims responsibility for Dortmund blast". Die Welt. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  15. ^ Oltermann, Philip; Connolly, Kate (12 April 2017). "Borussia Dortmund blasts: suspect 'from Islamist spectrum' detained". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  16. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Anschlag auf Mannschaftsbus: Das ungewöhnliche Bekennerschreiben von Dortmund - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Panorama". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Borussia Dortmund bombs: Letters at scene 'not from Islamists'". BBC News. 14 April 2017.
  18. ^ Mortimer, Caroline. "Major doubts about letters claiming Islamist motive for Dortmund attack". The Independent. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  19. ^ "Prosecutors are investigating if Dortmund bombing could have been the work of right-wing extremists". The Independent. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Germany probes new message claiming Dortmund attack". Agence-France Presse. 15 April 2017.
  21. ^ "German police investigate far-Right link to Dortmund bombing". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  22. ^ Pancevski, Bojan (16 April 2017). "Dortmund attackers wanted to incite backlash against Muslims". The Times. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  23. ^ Gaul, Simone; Breitinger, Matthias; Beyer, Tim; Fritsch, Oliver (12 April 2017). "Anschlag auf BVB-Bus: Ein verdächtiger Islamist festgenommen". Die Zeit. ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  24. ^ "Nach Anschlag auf BVB-Bus: Festgenommener Tatverdächtiger soll Iraker aus Wuppertal sein". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 12 April 2017. ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Borussia Dortmund: German police call bombing suspect 'Isis member' as they issue arrest warrant". The Independent. 13 April 2017.
  26. ^ "'Isil terrorist' suspect held in connection with Borussia Dortmund bombing". The Telegraph. 13 April 2017.
  27. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Nach Anschlag in Dortmund: Haftbefehl gegen Verdächtigen erlassen - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Panorama". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  28. ^ "UEFA statement on Dortmund incident". UEFA. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  29. ^ Sharwood, Anthony (12 April 2017). "German Football Fans Show French Rivals Amazing Hospitality After Borussia Dortmund Bus Explosion". Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  30. ^ "Explosion in Dortmund: Bestürzung und Anteilnahme für den BVB". Die Zeit. 12 April 2017. ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  31. ^ Tuchel und Matthäus kritisieren Uefa hart; released on 12 April 2017; NTV