german

A woman wearing a headscarf walks past the entrance to the Fatih Camii Mosque in Dresden, eastern Germany, where traces of smoke can be seen after a bomb attack.

Bomb attacks hit a mosque and an international convention centre in the eastern German city of Dresden, police said, adding that they suspected a xenophobic and nationalist motive.

No one was injured in the blasts late Monday in a city that has become a hotspot for far-right protests and hate crimes following Germany’s huge migrant influx.

“Although no one has claimed the attack, we assume a xenophobic motive,” said Dresden police chief Horst Kretzschmar. “We also suspect a connection with celebrations next weekend for the Day of German Unity” on Monday, October 3.

Dresden will host national celebrations Monday to mark 26 years since the reunification of East and West Germany, to be attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck.

“We have now switched to crisis mode,” Kretzschmar said, with police deployed to guard the city’s two mosques and an Islamic cultural centre.

Dresden, a Baroque city in Germany’s ex-communist east, is also the birthplace of the anti-immigration PEGIDA street movement, short for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident.

Its members have angrily protested against the influx of refugees and migrants that last year brought one million asylum seekers to Europe’s biggest economy.

About a dozen demonstrations are planned over the long weekend, by both PEGIDA and by anti-fascist groups.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the mosque attack was “all the more scandalous” because it happened on the eve of the 10th annual meeting of the dialogue forum the German Islam Conference.