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Car explodes in Berlin, killing driver

Police insist there is no indication of a "terrorist" link after a car explosion in the German capital. Investigators say the blast's victim had previously been investigated for drug dealing and other crimes.

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Car explosion in Berlin

Police said the car exploded in the western Berlin suburb of Charlottenburg early Tuesday, killing the male driver.

"Investigators are working on the assumption that it was an explosive device inside or on the vehicle that caused the blast," Berlin police spokesman Carsten Müller told the Associated Press news agency.

Police said that there was no indication the blast was a terrorist attack, adding that one possible link was to organized crime gangs.

Driver details sketchy

The driver, who had a Turkish background, has not been named, and was not the owner of the car, police confirmed.

It was not known whether the victim had been the intended target, officials said, but he was known to police over alleged drug dealing, forgery and illegal gambling.

Another avenue of inquiry was a possible revenge killing by Berlin's notorious biker gangs, one prosecutor at the scene said.

There were no other casualties or injuries in Tuesday's incident.

Rush hour blast

The explosion occurred on Bismarckstrasse which leads into the heart of Berlin. The force of the blast caused the silver VW "Passat" station wagon to overturn and ram into a parked vehicle. The debris-strewn street was cordoned off for several hours while forensics experts examined the scene.

Police tweeted video footage from the site in which officers warn local residents to stay indoors and keep away from windows.

They also tweeted photos showing the mangled car in the middle of the road with its windows blown out and its front end smashed in.

Police said no further explosive devices had been found at the scene.

mm/nm/kms (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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