Sabotage hits trains in north Germany, forcing 3-hour halt

BERLIN (AP) — A train communications system in Germany was targeted by sabotage Saturday, forcing both passenger and cargo trains to halt for nearly three hours across the northwest of the country, authorities said.

Operator Deutsche Bahn said early Saturday that no long-distance or regional trains were running in the states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Bremen. That also affected trains between Berlin and Cologne, neither of which was directly affected by the system failure, and between Berlin and Amsterdam, while trains from Denmark weren’t crossing the border into Germany.

The sabotage hit a primary mode of regional and intercity transport in Germany as well as disrupting supply lines for industries using cargo trains.

After the nearly three-hour suspension, Deutsche Bahn said the problem — a “failure of the digital train radio system” — had been resolved but that some disruptions could still be expected. It later said the outage was caused by sabotage.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing said cables that are “essential for handling railway traffic safely” were deliberately severed at two separate locations. He said Germany’s federal police were investigating the incident.

Federal police said the crime scenes were in a Berlin suburb and in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, German news agency dpa reported. There was no immediate word on who might have been responsible.

“We can’t say anything today either about the background to this act or the perpetrators,” Wissing said. “The investigation will have to yield that.”

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