9 hurt in German railway station blast

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The Independent Online

An explosion has ripped through the entrance tunnel to a central Duesseldorf commuter railway station, injuring nine people, including a pregnant woman who lost her unborn baby.

An explosion has ripped through the entrance tunnel to a central Duesseldorf commuter railway station, injuring nine people, including a pregnant woman who lost her unborn baby.

The woman in her 20s also had to have a leg amputated, police said. Another person, a man, was also in critical condition.

Police ruled out accidental causes and said the blast in the heavily traveled station was likely caused by an explosive device designed to send off dangerous shrapnel - possibly a fragmentation grenade or something homemade.

Police said they did not believe the attack was politically motivated, but were not ruling anything out.

"There was no warning beforehand and so far we haven't found any note claiming responsibility," said spokesman Andre Hartwich. The explosion appeared aimed at causing injury and not damaging the building, which suffered only minor damage, said Joachim Schmitz, a spokesman for the Duesseldorf fire department.

"I had just served a customer when I heard an extraordinarily loud explosion that shook the bottles on the shelves," said Erkan Postal, who owns a convenience store across from the train station in the residential neighborhood. He said he then ran outside and heard a woman scream as a huge cloud of white smoke rose from the station, and other bloody commuters fled the building.

Police and rescue officials arrived quickly at the station, located in the centre of the western commercial city.

A rescue helicopter was used to ferry victims to area hospitals, which appealed for blood donations to help the injured. The blast caused widespread disruptionto trains between Duesseldorf and neighboring Duisburg and delays continued into the evening.

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