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Germany’s Dortmund Soccer Bus Bomb: Trader Arrested Over Blasts

A bomb attack targeting a German soccer team last week was not carried out by Islamist extremists or political activists — but instead by a 28-year-old man who wanted to make millions by causing the team's share price to plummet, officials said Friday.

The German prosecutors office said the suspect was arrested on suspicion of detonating three bombs filled with metal pins in a hedge near the team bus of Borussia Dortmund, one of Europe's top teams.

No one was killed, but the bombs injured a policeman and one of Dortmund's players, 26-year-old Spanish international Marc Bartra.

After initially investigating the possibility that Islamist extremists or activists from the far-right and left were behind the attack, authorities arrested a suspect Friday they said was motivated by greed alone.

He was identified only as Sergej W, according to The Associated Press.

He had bought 15,000 so-called "put options" for shares in Borussia Dortmund and bet that the share price of the team would drop, according to prosecutors.

"A significant share price drop could have been expected if a player had been seriously injured or even killed as a result of the attack," prosecutors said, according to the AP.

"The man appears to have wanted to commit murder out of greed," Ralf Jaeger, the top security official in state, told the news agency. He added that the suspect had hoped to earn millions.

Europe has been hit with several attacks in recent years that have been directed or claimed by ISIS or other similar groups. And Islamist extremism was again touted as the possible culprit for last week's attack after three identical letters were found at the scene.

These called for Germany to stop bombing Syria and for a U.S. air base in the European country to be shuttered.

The letters led authorities to believe that "an Islamist background was possible" in the attacks," although terrorism experts later doubted their authenticity because they were inconsistent with jihadi language and contained other mistakes.

Image: Borussia Dortmund team bus involved in explosion
The damaged windows of Borussia Dortmund's team bus on Tuesday, April 11. Stringer / EPA

A 26-year-old Iraqi man was also detained on suspicion of being a member of ISIS in Iraq. Although officials said it was not clear whether he was involved in the bus attack.

Officials also dismissed other claims that surfaced online and pointed to both left and right-wing extremists.

Instead, officials traced the purchase of the share options to a luxury hotel in Dortmund where the team was staying ahead of a game against Monaco in the Champions League, regarded as the world's top soccer club competition.

He was staying on the top floor of the L'Arrivée, which "gave him a view of the attack site," prosecutors said.

The bombs were filled with metal pins 3 inches long and 1/5th of an inch in diameter, which shattered the bus windows and caused the two injuries.

"The fact that no further people were injured or killed was, as we now know, purely a matter of luck," the team said on Facebook.