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

BERLIN, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Attackers cut cables vital to the rail network in two places on Saturday morning, disrupting all rail traffic in northern Germany for nearly three hours, in what authorities said was An act of vandalism, but no identification of who might be responsible.

Federal Police have launched an investigation into the incident, Transport Minister Volker Wiesing said at a news conference. “It was clear that this was a targeted malicious act,” he said.

The outages immediately sounded alarm bells after NATO and the European Union emphasized the need to protect critical infrastructure following an act of “sabotage” at the Nord Stream gas pipeline last month.

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“We can’t say too much right now, it’s too early,” said a security source who asked not to be named. Sources said an in-depth investigation into the incident had begun, with multiple possible causes ranging from simple cable theft, which was common at the time, to targeted attacks.

Neither the federal police nor the Home Office immediately responded to requests for comment.

“Due to damage to cables essential to rail traffic, Deutsche Bahn had to stop rail traffic in the north for almost three hours this morning,” state rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) said in a statement.

DB had earlier attributed the network outage to a technical problem with radio communications. Rail traffic remained incomplete after it resumed on Saturday afternoon, it said, warning of train cancellations and delays.

The disruptions affected rail services through Lower Saxony and Schlesig-Holstein, as well as the city states of Bremen and Hamburg, with knock-on effects on international rail travel to Denmark and the Netherlands.

Lines quickly formed at mainline stations including Berlin and Hannover as departure boards showed many services were delayed or cancelled. Station staff were seen trying to advise passengers as the delays extended.

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Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke and Christian Ruettger; Editing by Kathryn Evans and David Holmes

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