Third person detained over Sikh temple blast in Essen | News | DW | 21.04.2016
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Third person detained over Sikh temple blast in Essen

German police have arrested three people over a bomb blast that injured three people in a Sikh temple in Essen. The authorities believe the bombing was a "terrorist act."

A third young man was detained on Friday in connection with the attack, a day after two 16-year-old Islamists were taken into custody. No other details about him have been released.

The two teenagers detained on Thursday have links with Islamists in northwest Germany, Essen police chief Frank Richter said on Thursday.

Officials suspect the two were involved in a blast at the entrance of the city's Sikh temple on Saturday. The bomb detonated after a wedding party, with one of the guests sustaining serious injuries. Two other people were slightly injured, with the blast blowing out several windows and destroying a part of the building's exterior.

"We have to presume it was a terrorist act - religiously motivated terror by the Islamist scene," Richter said in a statement.

One of the two 16-year-old suspects turned himself in after the police published surveillance camera footage allegedly showing the perpetrators. Special police units arrested the other suspect in his parents' home.

"We assume there will be more arrests," Richter said, adding that some 120 police officers were investigating the case. "There are numerous leads that need to be evaluated."

After the alleged attack, the police discovered remains of a backpack at the scene and a balaclava presumably belonging to one of the perpetrators.

Protecting the Sikhs

Deutschland Essen Anschlag Gebtshaus Sikh

The bomb exploded after most of the wedding guests left the complex

According to Richter, both suspects have "partially admitted" the attack, but did not disclose their motives.

The authorities are now attempting to determine if the two were members of a bigger extremist group. A report by the German public broadcaster ARD hinted at links between the teenagers and the "Islamic State" group.

There are about 200 members of the Sikh community living in Essen, in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The police pledged to "continue to do everything possible" to ensure their protection.

"I find it shocking that people who grew up among us are in a position and willing to build bombs and risk the lives of others," State Interior Minister Ralf Jäger said.