Essen/Cologne (dpa/lnw) - The investigators see no evidence of a terrorist attack in the interlocking manipulations in Leverkusen and three similar incidents in the Ruhr area on Sunday. The further investigations therefore ran without the involvement of the state security, said the responsible Essen public prosecutor Marion Weise on Tuesday.
The Essen authority had taken over responsibility from the Cologne public prosecutor's office. It will also be checked further whether there is a connection between the Leverkusen case and the incidents in the Ruhr area, also on Sunday at signal boxes in Essen-Kray, Essen-Stadtwald and Schwelm.
According to the investigation, unknown persons had pressed several emergency stop switches in a railway signal box in Leverkusen on Sunday and thus de-energized parts of the rail network, as the Cologne police and public prosecutor announced on Monday. As a result, some trains would have stopped automatically. There were disruptions in rail traffic. It is determined because of dangerous interference in rail traffic. The background is currently unknown, according to the authorities. Details of the attacks in Essen and Schwelm were not disclosed.
The chairman of the board of the Federal Association for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure, Holger Berens, suspected a connection in WDR 5's "Morgenecho" on Tuesday: "It is certainly not vandalism, but from my point of view a concerted action." Berens demanded better safety precautions from the railways. It should no longer be accepted that people can simply break into what are sometimes very old signal box houses. Manufacturers of security and IT security technology are among the members of the association.
The railway had been the target of saboteurs several times in the past six months. On October 8, for example, unknown persons cut the fiber optic cable of the internal railway mobile network in Herne and Berlin, which is used, among other things, by the engine driver and control centers to communicate with each other. As a result, rail traffic in northern Germany came to a complete standstill for several hours. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke of sabotage without giving any information about possible perpetrators or motives. In December, the railway was again attacked by saboteurs: unknown persons broke into a switch house in the Dellwig district of Essen and severed cables in switch boxes.