German authorities are investigating a suspected arson attack on a campaign bus belonging to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), police said Friday.
The fire brigade was called in after a burning vehicle was discovered in a west Berlin parking lot overnight, police said. Two other vehicles had also been damaged in the fire.
Thilo-Harry Wollenschlaeger, a CDU candidate, was using the campaign bus in the German capital ahead of local elections on September 18.
There have been a series of vandalism cases in recent weeks against CDU constituency offices in and around Berlin, with many of the party's posters being defaced across the city.
Berlin mayor Frank Henkel, also a member of the CDU, said Friday that the arson attack on the campaign bus represented a "new degree of violence," adding that it was unacceptable for hateful acts to become a part of election campaigns.
Merkel and her party have been under pressure after four deadly attacks took place across Germany last month. Three of them were carried out by asylum seekers, which reignited a debate about her decision to welcome hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees last summer.