Police suspect bomb caused explosion in Berlin

Posted at 6:33 AM, Mar 15, 2016

BERLIN (AP) — An explosion that destroyed a car and killed the driver in downtown Berlin during rush hour traffic Tuesday was likely caused by a bomb, police said Tuesday, but investigators are working on the assumption that it was not a terror-related attack.

The explosion occurred at about 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) in the western district of Charlottenburg on a busy street leading into the heart of the German capital. Photos from the scene showed the wreckage of a Berlin-registered silver VW Passat station wagon, its windows blown out and its front end smashed in, about a kilometer (half mile) from the capital's landmark Victory Column.

"(The) explosion occurred inside or on the vehicle," said Carsten Mueller, deputy chief spokesman for Berlin police. "Our investigators are working on the assumption that it was an explosive device that caused this," Mueller told The Associated Press.

Nobody else was injured in the blast despite heavy traffic, he said.

Hours after the blast police were concentrating on the possibility that the explosion might be linked to organized crime, said Kerstin Ziesmer, a police spokeswoman.

She said investigators had identified the man who was killed but declined to name him, citing the ongoing investigation.

The city has seen a spate of violence linked to biker gangs involved in the drugs trade in recent years.