Rail in northern Germany disrupted by sabotage

BERLIN (Reuters) -Rail traffic in northern Germany was disrupted for three hours on Saturday due to sabotage, German news agency dpa cited state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn as saying.

"Due to sabotage on cables that are indispensable for rail traffic, Deutsche Bahn had to stop rail traffic in the north this morning for nearly three hours," dpa cited a DB spokesperson as saying.

Neither state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn nor the Interior Ministry were immediately available for comment.

DB said on its Twitter page that rail traffic was still patchy in northern Germany on Saturday afternoon after coming to a standstill for several hours due to an issue with radio communications.

The disruptions are affecting rail services through the state of Lower Saxony as well as the city states of Bremen and Hamburg, with a knock-on effect to international rail journeys to Denmark and the Netherlands.

Citing sources in the security services, Der Spiegel magazine reported that cables for DB's communication network had been cut in two places. It was not clear whether this was an act of sabotage or was accidental damage, due for example to construction work, the magazine wrote.

Deutsche Bahn has become increasingly known in recent years for train delays and cancellations due to its creaking infrastructure.

But the disruption on Saturday raised alarm bells after NATO and the European Union last month stressed the need to protect critical infrastructure, after what they called acts of "sabotage" on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke and Christian Ruettger; Editing by Catherine Evans and David Holmes)