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Germany

Bomb threat interrupts birthday party for former German Chancellor Schröder

The threat of an attack halted a lavish birthday party for former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder this week. Police have not yet been able to identify the motive as the link to the fete was uncertain.

A high-profile birthday celebration for former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder came to a brief halt when the venue was warned of an attack, according to police in the town of Kronberg on Tuesday.

An unidentified individual called in bomb threat to local authorities at 7:30 p.m. (1730 UTC) on Monday. They responded immediately, sending investigators to the scene and busing guests to a nearby hotel.

The search for an explosive device failed to produce results and guests were allowed to return to the venue at roughly 11 p.m.

The party was being held at the invitation of the Rothschild banking group at Kronberg castle, which lies just north of Germany's financial capital, Frankfurt. The guest list included a number of important businessman such as Deutsche Bank CEO Jürgen Fitschen, Frankfurt airport CEO Hartmut Mehdorn and Clemens Tönnies, the head of the football club Schalke 04's board of directors. Russia's ambassador to Germany, Vladimir Grinin, was also reportedly in attendance.

Local police have not yet been able to confirm a particular motive as it was not immediately clear whether the threat was directed at Schröder or at the Kronberg castle.

Schröder led the German government from 1998 to 2005. The Social Democrat (SPD) recently faced strong criticism when he was seen greeted with a hug by Russian President Vladimir Putin at an early birthday party in St. Petersburg.

kms/mkg (AFP, dpa)

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