'Neo-Nazi' arrested for bomb attack on foreigners in Düsseldorf 17 years ago

The Local, Germany/February 1, 2017

Nearly two decades after a bombing in Düsseldorf injured mainly Jewish people and foreigners, police have now arrested a suspect.The summer 2000 bombing at the Wehrhahn S-Bahn station left ten people injured, including some seriously. The victims were foreigners, and six of them were Jewish.

Spiegel Online first reported on Wednesday that police had arrested 50-year-old Ralf S., identified as a gun fanatic who had been a known member of the neo-Nazi scene at the time of the attack. 

Investigators confirmed on Wednesday that Ralf S. was a right-wing radical who had run a military shop near the scene of the bombing.

On July 27th 2000, the suspect is believed to have hung a plastic bag on a railing at the S-Bahn station, which contained a TNT-filled pipe bomb. It detonated at about 3pm that afternoon, hitting seven women and three men, including students at a nearby language school.

One was a pregnant woman who lost her baby and had a leg amputated as a result, according to reports at the time. Six were Jewish immigrants from former Soviet Union countries, while the rest were Russian-Germans.

The attack sent shockwaves across Germany, especially because a neo-Nazi motive was suspected. A few months later, a synagogue in the western city was set on fire in an arson attack. 

Spiegel reported that officials have now confirmed they are investigating it as a xenophobic attack.

Ralf S. is reportedly a former German soldier, who became known as the ‘sheriff’ in his part of town because he would patrol the streets with a dog, or dressed in combat gear.

He had appeared on investigators’ radar shortly after the attack, but despite hours of interrogation and a temporary detainment at the time, there was not enough evidence to charge him.

The arrest on Wednesday is due to new evidence gathered over the course of a two-year intensive investigation and surveillance of Ralf S. Investigators reviewed the damaged railing on which the bomb was hung, and also used improved DNA evaluation techniques.

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