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Berlin pipe bomber suspect arrested

A 44-year-old man was arrested on Friday evening, suspected of building at least two pipe bombs and leaving them in Berlin parks – one of which seriously injured a gardener.

Berlin pipe bomber suspect arrested
Photo: DPA

One bomb was left in shopping bag by a park bench in the Wedding district of the capital this August, exploding in the face of a landscape gardener when he opened it.

Detective work on pieces from the bomb led investigators to identify the bits as having been bought from a particular hardware shops, according to Berlin newspaper the BZ.

They then traced the man – named only as Stephan S. – who had been customer at all the relevant shops. He was arrested on Thursday at a car-parts shop where he worked.

Officers who searched his flat found nearly 1,000 other elements which could be used to make more bombs, some of which were already partly-built. They also found a small quantity of explosive, the BZ reported.

“We reckon that he would have planted another bomb in the near future,” said Oliver Stepien from the intelligence services which were also involved in the investigation. They think he was not only responsible for the bomb in the shopping bag, but also another which blew up in June 2007, and a third which was discovered on the bank of a canal.

The man, said to be German of Afghan extraction, has not spoken to detectives since his arrest. “But we can rule out a political or religious background,” said public prosecutor Martin Steltner. He said the man, who had no police record, was suspected of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.

The Local/DAPD/hc

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BERLIN

Blaze-hit section of Berlin’s Grunewald forest to ‘remain shut for years’

The closure in Berlin Grunewald, where a disastrous fire spread earlier this month, is due to exploded munition remnants littering the forest floor.

Blaze-hit section of Berlin’s Grunewald forest to 'remain shut for years'

Two weeks since a devastating fire ravaged part of Berlin’s Grunewald forest, the head of the city’s forests division says the burned out section will have to shut for the next few years.

At 3,000 hectares (about 7,400 acres), Grunewald is the largest green space in Berlin and located on the city’s western edge. The forest – which is nicknamed the ‘green lung’ of Berlin – is a popular area for hiking, biking, and swimming in its lakes.

The forest’s southern half also contains Sprengplatz, an area set up in 1950 to collect and detonate leftover munitions from WWII, particularly those left by allied bombing raids of the then-Nazi capital.

The fire, which broke out at Sprengplatz, scattered detonated many pieces of leftover munitions all over the surrounding forest floor.

READ ALSO: ‘Unprecedented’: How explosions and fires have rocked Berlin’s Grunewald forest

Berlin Forests says the police will be detonating larger explosives in the coming weeks, but that it will take much longer to search for and safely dispose of smaller pieces.

“It’s very time-consuming work and it will take years to collect everything,” Berlin Forests Head Gunnar Heyne told regional broadcaster rbb. “The forest will remain closed for at least that long.”

Heyne is confident though, that the forest itself will recover well quickly, particularly its oak and poplar trees.

While the area around Sprengplatz will remain shut, much of the rest of the forest, including the path to Grunewald’s popular Teufelsee—or “Devil’s Lake,” remain open.

READ ALSO: Firefighters bring Berlin forest fire under control after munitions explosion

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