BERLIN – Rail passengers in Germany saw their travel plans hit by delays and cancellations on Monday after suspected arson attacks caused fires to break out across parts of the nation’s railway network overnight.
Security forces were working to establish whether the fires were started as part of a coordinated vandalism effort or whether there was a political motive.
“This morning, there were 12 arson attacks on German railway installations between 1:00 am and 4:30 am,” police in the federal state of Saxony (east Germany) said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Four of the fires were reported in the Leipzig area, according to police.
“There is an assumption that the fires are linked. A political motivation, such as in relation to the G20 summit in Hamburg, has not been ruled out,” the police statement said in reference to an upcoming meeting of G20 heads of state and government from July 7-8 in the northern port city.
Railway company Deutsche Bahn warned passengers of cancellations and delays in Hamburg and Lübeck in the north, and Leipzig in the east due to “vandalism damage.”
The company said regional trains were experiencing delays in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Bochum in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Police in the capital Berlin said they were investigating a cable fire near the Treptower Park S-Bahn (suburban rail) station, while police in Saxony – where Leipzig is located – asked for possible witnesses to come forward with information on the fires.