German authorities are taking “very seriously” an apparently failed attempt to damage and derail a high-speed ICE intercity train after Arabic messages threatening attacks were discovered nearby.
The attempted attack on an intercity ICE train between Nuremberg and Munich involved a steel cable stretched across the tracks and wooden wedges on the rails, reports Die Welt, and took place in early October. While the train was not derailed, the driver noticed the impact and inspected the ICE set at the next station, discovering it had been damaged.
The incident was then dismissed, but is now being investigated again after a “threatening letter in Arabic” was discovered at the site of the attempted attack. Arabic language graffiti was also sprayed on a nearby bridge but it is not yet known whether this was linked to the incident.
BREAKING – Cologne: Hostage Taken, Shots Fired at German Railway Station https://t.co/xBqMJyUnFF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 15, 2018
The Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation is now looking into the incident, and considering whether there is a terrorist or extremist motive behind it. Investigators said they were taking the incident “very seriously”.
Railways across Europe have been hit by terror attacks, but if the October attempted derailment transpires to be a failed terror attack it would represent a shift in attack method, away from launching attacks onboard trains and inside stations towards attacking the vehicles themselves, potentially causing a greater loss of life.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 16, 2016
A devastating example of the damage that can be caused by a train derailing at speed was the Santiago de Compostela accident in Spain, 2013, when a high-speed train turned over on a bend, killing 79 of the 222 people onboard. A derailment in Lower Saxony, Germany, in 1998 saw an ICE high-speed train strike a road bridge which collapsed on top of the train, which saw 101 of 287 onboard killed.