July 25, 2016
The Syrian man tried to gain access to a music festival but was turned away. The Syrian man who blew himself up in Ansbach, Germany, on Sunday made a video pledging allegiance to the leader of so-called Islamic State, Bavaria’s interior minister says. Joachim Hermann said two phones, multiple SIM cards and a laptop were found with the body of the 27-year-old asylum seeker or at his accommodation. The man threatened a “revenge attack” on Germans in the video, he said. IS has claimed it was behind the attack and the Syrian was an IS “soldier”.
Fifteen people were injured, four of them seriously, when the man’s explosive device went off close to a music festival in the small town, which is near Nuremberg. The attacker announced in the video “in the name of Allah that he pledged allegiance to [IS chief] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and announced an act of revenge against Germans because they were standing in the way of Islam,” Mr. Hermann said.
Germany was already reeling after five people were wounded on a train in another part of Bavaria a week ago by an axe-wielding teenager from Afghanistan who had pledged allegiance to IS.
On Friday nine people were killed by a teenage gunman in the state capital, Munich, who then shot himself dead. That incident was not believed to be jihadist-inspired.
What is going on in Germany?
Ansbach attacker: From asylum seeker to IS suicide
Bomber Bavarian authorities said that the bomb which exploded in Ansbach was constructed in such a way that it was clearly meant to kill as many people as possible. Further bomb-making equipment was found at the asylum seeker accommodation where the man was living, including a fuel canister, hydrogen peroxide and batteries, they added. Police officers stand in front of a former hotel where a Syrian man lived before he blew himself up on Sunday at an open-air music festival in Ansbach. The unnamed Syrian man lived at this former hotel, now accommodation for asylum seekers. A detailed analysis of the content of the videos was ongoing, Mr. Hermann said. “I think it is unquestionable that it is a terror attack with corresponding Islamist convictions of the perpetrator,” he said.
Seven deadly days
A week of bloody attacks has frayed nerves in Germany, which led the way in accepting asylum seekers from Syria. To date, only the first has been linked to a militant group:
18 July: An axe-wielding teenage asylum seeker from Afghanistan is shot dead after injuring five people in an attack on a train. IS claims the attack, releasing a video recorded by the attacker before the incident.
22 July: A German teenager of Iranian extraction goes on a shooting rampage in the Bavarian state capital, Munich, killing nine people, most of them migrants, before shooting himself. He is said to have been obsessed with school shootings.
24 July: A Syrian asylum seeker is arrested in the town of Reutlingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, after allegedly killing a Polish woman with a machete and injuring two other people. Police suggest it was probably a “crime of passion.”
24 July: A failed Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up outside a music festival in the small Bavarian town of Ansbach, injuring 15 other people.
German media on the attacks
The German interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, acknowledged possible links to international terrorism and IS but also added: “At the same time, we cannot exclude a particular psychological or mental disorder or instability – or we may be talking about a combination of both factors.” Mr. de Maiziere has ordered increased police presence in public places. The Ansbach attacker – who has not been named – came to Germany two years ago but was denied asylum and was due to be deported to Bulgaria, where he had already been granted refugee status. Officials say the man has tried to kill himself on two occasions and has received psychiatric inpatient treatment. A neighbor at the asylum seeker accommodation said the man often lied, without any reason, perhaps for attention. He had always said he did not like IS, the neighbor said.