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Jogger mistaken for terrorist

June 1, 2016

Hamburg was on high alert after a passerby mistook a runner wearing a weight vest for a suicide bomber, police have said. A witness alerted officials after he saw the man enter a building.

Symbolbild Bridging the divide
Image: picture-alliance/landov/D. Grunfeld

A person driving around in Hamburg's Hamm area said he saw a runner wearing what he thought was a suicide bomber's jacket, officials said. The runner reportedly "danced around" at a traffic light and entered a nearby building.

The witness found the runner's behavior suspicious and called the police, who sent 60 officers, including special commandos and riot police to nab the alleged terrorist.

But it turned out that the man had only gone for a routine run and wanted to go back to his office after his workout, police said. He had been wearing a weighted vest over his t-shirt to increase the intensity of exercise.

"The witness thought it was a suicide jacket," a police spokesman told reporters. The car driver was also alarmed by the way the jogger moved around in circles at the traffic light - probably to keep up his heart rate, they added.

Officials cleared the area soon after it was clear that the runner was not a militant. They said there was no reason to file a complaint regarding the case.

However, they were worried that the incident could inspire others to do the same and create nuisance for the authorities.

mg/sms (dpa, AFP)