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Germany: Dresden Blasts: Mosque, Conference Center Attacked in German City

Tuesday 27 September 2016, by siawi3


Sep 27 2016, 5:34 am ET

by Andy Eckardt and Alexander Smith

MAINZ, Germany — Two home-made bombs hit a mosque and a conference center in eastern Germany late Monday in what officials called a "xenophobic" attack.

No one was injured by the blasts in Dresden, birthplace of a German grassroots anti-Islam movement known as PEGIDA.

Photo: The entrance to the Fatih Camii Mosque in Dresden, seen after the attack. SEBASTIAN KAHNERT / AFP - Getty Images

Police said the first bomb exploded outside a mosque in the western part of the city at around 10 p.m. local time [4 p.m. ET] while the imam, his wife and two sons were inside.

Around 30 minutes later, another explosion struck outside the city’s International Congress Center — a large, modern building on the banks of the Elbe River.

Investigators said they found parts of home-made bombs at both locations.

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"Even though there has been no claim of responsibility, we have to assume that there is a xenophobic motive," Dresden police chief Horst Kretzschmar said in a statement.

In addition to xenophobic motives, the police statement said there also could be "a connection" between the blasts and an upcoming festival scheduled to take place in the heart of the city.

Image: Dresden
Dresden, Germany. Google Maps

Police did not provide further details on the nature of any link to this weekend’s Day of German Unity, which celebrates the country’s 1990 reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Protection around the mosque has been stepped up and the incidents "will have an effect on the ongoing security preparations" for the weekend, Kretzschmar said.

He added: "We are now in a crisis mode."

Dresden was the birthplace in 2014 of the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement, whose name is an acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West.

The group has seized upon an influx of refugees and migrants into Germany and has held several rallies of thousands of people across the country.

Last week, a government report warned that xenophobia was rising in ex-communist eastern Germany.

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