Syrian refugee blows himself up in Germany, wounds 12

Syrian refugee blows himself up in Germany, wounds 12

ANSBACH, Germany
Syrian refugee blows himself up in Germany, wounds 12

German police investigates at the site in Ansbach, Germany, Monday, July 25, 2016, where a failed asylum-seeker from Syria blew himself up and wounded 15 people after being turned away from an open-air music festival in southern Germany. AP photo

A failed asylum-seeker from Syria blew himself up and wounded 12 people after being turned away from an open-air music festival in southern Germany, authorities said July 25. It was the fourth attack to shake Germany in a week - three of them carried out by recent immigrants.

The 27-year-old set off explosives he was carrying in a backpack at a bar shortly after 10 p.m. on July 24, having been refused entry to the festival in the southern town of Ansbach because he did not have a ticket, the Associated Press reported. 

Police said a dozen people were wounded, including three seriously, in the attack in Ansbach, a town of 40,000 people southwest of Nüremberg that is also home to a U.S. Army base. 

The dead man had been in treatment after twice before trying to kill himself, though the explosion was more than just “a pure suicide attempt,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told Reuters.

Roman Fertinger, the deputy police chief in nearby Nüremberg, said it was likely there would have been more casualties if the man had managed to enter the concert venue.

The attacker’s pack had contained sharp bits of metal.

“My personal view is that I unfortunately think it’s very likely this really was an Islamist suicide attack,” Herrmann told German news agency DPA.

The incident will fuel growing public unease about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy, under which more than a million migrants have entered Germany over the past year, many fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. 

Stephan Mayer, a deputy from Merkel’s conservative bloc, insisted that it was “completely wrong to blame Angela Merkel and her refugee policy” for the rash of violence over the last week.

But Mayer told the BBC that the 1.1 million migrants and refugees Germany let in last year represent a “big challenge” for law enforcement, even as the influx has dwindled in recent months.

Herrmann said the man’s request for asylum was rejected a year ago, but he was allowed to remain in Germany because of the strife in Syria.

An interior ministry spokesman said Syrians cannot be deported directly to Syria because of the situation there, but the man was due to be deported to Bulgaria.

The unnamed man had repeatedly received psychiatric treatment, including twice for attempted suicide, authorities said.

Police said the attacker had also been known for drug possession.

Authorities on July 25 raided an asylum shelter in the suburbs of Ansbach.

One resident said he had occasionally drunk coffee with the attacker and they had discussed religion. Alireza Khodadadi told The Associated Press that the man, whom he would identify only as Mohammed, had told him that the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was not representative of Islam.

“He always said that, no, I’m not with them, I don’t like them and such stuff. But I think he had some issues because, you know, he told lies so often without any reason, and I understand that he wants to be in the center of [attention], you know, he needed [attention],” Khodadadi said.

Syrian refugee kills Polish woman with machete 

Already steeped in grief and shock, Germans were further rattled by news that a Syrian refugee had killed a 45-year-old Polish woman with a machete in the southwestern city of Reutlingen.

Police said that incident on July 24, in which three others were injured, did not bear the hallmarks of a “terrorist attack.”

“When a man and woman have an argument, we assume that we are dealing with a crime of passion,” a local police spokeswoman told DPA.

Three people were also injured in the attack, which ended when the 21-year-old assailant was deliberately struck by a BMW driver trying to stop the man.  

NTV showed amateur video footage of the suspect running away from the scene before cutting to him lying on the ground, his face bloodied and his hands cuffed by police.