Agencies – Bomb attacks hit a mosque and a congress center in the eastern German city of Dresden, police said Tuesday, adding that they suspected a xenophobic and nationalist motive.
No-one was injured in the blasts late Monday in a city which has become a hotspot for far-right protests amid Germany’s huge migrant influx.
“Although no-one has claimed the attack, we assume a xenophobic motive,” said Dresden police chief Horst Kretzschmar.
“We also suspect a connection with celebrations next weekend for the Day of German Unity” on Monday, October 3.
Police said they found pieces of a homemade explosive device in front of the conference center and the mosque.
An imam with his wife and two sons were inside the mosque at the time. They were not injured, but the entrance door was pushed into the building by the blast. Police said they increased the security outside mosques all over Dresden.
The second device exploded shortly after the first on a terrace between a hotel and the International Congress Center, a facility which can accommodate 6,000 people for conferences. The blast destroyed a decorative glass block on the outdoor terrace. Police evacuated the hotel bar and asked people to stay away from windows at the hotel building.
Some 50 officers were involved in the overnight operation, police said.
Police President Kretschmar said the two explosions could have also been connected to Germany’s national unification celebrations next Monday, which will be held in Dresden.
Dresden in Germany’s ex-communist east is the birthplace of the PEGIDA street movement, short for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident.
Its members have angrily protested against the influx of refugees and migrants that last year brought one million asylum seekers to Europe’s biggest economy.
Dresden next Monday hosts national celebrations to mark 26 years since the reunification of East and West Germany, to be attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck.
In an annual report outlining progress since reunification, the government warned last week that growing xenophobia and right-wing extremism could threaten peace in eastern Germany.