Posts Tagged ‘Ansbach’

Deadly attacks in Western Europe since 2014

April 8, 2017


Following are some of the deadly attacks in Western Europe over the past two years:

April 7, 2017 – A truck drives into a crowd on a shopping street and crashes into a department store in central Stockholm, killing four people and wounding 15 in what police call a terror attack.

March 22, 2017 – An attacker stabs a policeman close to the British parliament in London after a car ploughs into pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge. Six people die, including the assailant and the policeman he stabbed, and at least 20 injured in what police call a “marauding terrorist attack”.

March 18, 2017 – A man attempts to snatch gun from female soldier on patrol at Orly airport south of Paris; man, who interior ministry spokesman says had earlier fired a potshot at police during an identity check before fleeing, is shot dead in the Orly incident by other members of soldier patrol unit.

© AFP | Police secure Paris’ Orly airport after a man who said he was ready to die for Allah was shot dead after attacking a soldier

Feb. 3, 2017 – A machete-wielding man, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), attacks soldiers in a shopping mall on the edge of the Louvre museum in Paris; he is shot and seriously wounded by soldiers. Security sources in Cairo identified the man as Abdullah Reda al-Hamamy, born in Dakahlia, a province northeast of Cairo.

Dec. 19, 2016 – A truck ploughs into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says authorities are assuming it was a terrorist attack.

Image result for Berlin Christmas market aftermath attack, photos

Berlin Christmas market aftermath

July 26, 2016 – Two attackers kill a priest with a blade and seriously wound another hostage in a church in northern France before being shot dead by French police. French President Francois Hollande says the two hostage-takers had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

July 24, 2016 – A 21-year-old Syrian refugee is arrested after killing a pregnant woman and wounding two people with a machete in the southwestern German city of Reutlingen, near Stuttgart. “Given the current evidence, there is no indication that this was a terrorist attack,” police say.

– A Syrian man wounds 15 people when he blows himself up outside a music festival in Ansbach in southern Germany. Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack. The 27-year-old arrived in Germany two years ago and claimed asylum. He had been in trouble with the police repeatedly for drug-taking and other offences and had faced deportation to Bulgaria.

Emergency workers and vehicles are seen following an explosion in Ansbach

Emergency workers and vehicles are seen following the explosion in Ansbach CREDIT:REUTERS 

July 22, 2016 – An 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman apparently acting alone kills at least nine people in Munich. The teenager had no Islamist ties but was obsessed with mass killings. The attack was carried out on the fifth anniversary of twin attacks by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik that killed 77 people.

July 18, 2016 – A 17-year-old Afghan refugee wielding an axe and a knife attacks passengers on a train in southern Germany, severely wounding four, before being shot dead by police. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

July 14, 2016 – A gunman drives a heavy truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, killing 86 people and injuring scores more in an attack claimed by Islamic State. The attacker is identified as a Tunisian-born Frenchman.

June 14, 2016 – A Frenchman of Moroccan origin stabs a police commander to death outside his home in a Paris suburb and kills his partner, who also worked for the police. The attacker told police negotiators during a siege that he was answering an appeal by Islamic State.

March 22, 2016 – Three Islamic State suicide bombers, all Belgian nationals, blow themselves up at Brussels airport and in a metro train in the Belgian capital, killing 32 people. Police find links with the November attacks in Paris.

Injured passengers are covered in blood and dust after the explosions in the terminal building

Injured passengers and airline staff are covered in blood and dust after the explosions in the terminal building, March 22, 2016, Brussels airport

Nov. 13, 2015 – Paris is rocked by multiple, near simultaneous gun-and-bomb attacks on entertainment sites around the city, in which 130 people die and 368 are wounded. Islamic State claims responsibility. Two of the 10 known perpetrators were Belgian citizens and three others were French.

Paris attacks, November 13, 2017

Jan. 7-9, 2015 – Two Islamist militants break into an editorial meeting of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7 and rake it with bullets, killing 17. Another militant kills a policewoman the next day and takes hostages at a supermarket on Jan. 9, killing four before police shoot him dead. The attacks prompt a worldwide solidarity movement with the slogan “Je Suis Charlie”.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Paris, January 2015, Two terrorists shoot and kill a policeman who is already wounded and on the ground during the Charlie Hebdo shootings . Reuters photo

May 24, 2014 – Four people are killed in a shooting at the Jewish Museum in central Brussels. The attacker was French national Mehdi Nemmouche, 29, who was subsequently arrested in Marseille, France. Extradited, he is awaiting trial in Belgium.



Tension in Germany After Frankfurt Attack: Four people injured in stabbing at rail station

October 30, 2016

Four people have been injured in a stabbing attack
From AFP, AP, and Reuters

German police say four people have been injured in a stabbing attack at a commuter rail and subway station in downtown Frankfurt.

Frankfurt police spokeswoman Chantal Ench said the attack took place on Saturday afternoon inside the Hauptwache station.

Ench says four people were taken to the hospital with stab wounds, but she didn’t have details beyond that.

The knifeman was reported to still be on the run.

She says police are investigating to find out how many people were involved. She also didn’t have any details on the ages and genders of the injured.

According to Hessenschau, a local news outlet, one person was seriously hurt in the incident while the three others sustained light injuries.

It said the incident, which involved youths aged between 16 and 18 erupted at about 17.40 local time.

Blood stains were seen on the concourse of the station.

The motive for the attack remained unclear. Police in Frankfurt urged the public to avoid fear mongering.

“We are asking to refrain from speculation… You are scaring your fellow citizens. There is no danger,”  Frankfurt police said on their official Twitter account.


Four hospitalized after stabbing in Frankfurt train station

Police are investigating how many attackers were involved in the stabbing attack in the Hauptwache station in Frankfurt city center. They have assured the public there is no further danger.

Four people were injured in a stabbing attack at a train station in Frankfurt city center on Saturday.

Frankfurt police spokeswoman Chantal Ench said the attack took place inside the Hauptwache station during the afternoon.

She said all four victims were taken to hospital but did not provide further details.

Police said they were investigating how many perpetrators were involved in the attack.

Following the incident, Frankfurt police tweeted “There has been a knife attack at the Hauptwache in Frankfurt. That is why so many colleagues and rescue services are there,” followed by “Four people were injured during a stabbing incident in Frankfurt. All four are currently in hospital.”

The police also urged the public to refrain from speculating about the incident, reassuring them that there was no threat of further danger.

Security alerts

While Germany has been spared large-scale terror attacks, the country has been hit by a number of incidents in which asylum seekers – some linked to the “so-called “Islamic State,” (IS)” – have carried out attacks.
Last summer, a 17-year-old Afghan refugee in Würzburg attacked passengers on a train with an axe, injuring five, while 15 people were injured at a music festival in Ansbach after a Syrian refugee blew himself up.

Earlier this month, the town of Chemitz was on lockdown after police raided the apartment of 22-year-old Syrian refugee Jaber Albakr. After his capture and arrest on suspicion of planning an attack on a Berlin airport, Albakr committed suicide in his jail cell.

dm/jm (AP)

Angela Merkel’s open-door immigration policy protects Germany from terrorism in the long-run

July 28, 2016

All three asylum seekers who carried out attacks this week had entered Germany long before the Chancellor announced her immigration policy last year


The Independent

“The German government is not at war with Islam.”

 Image result for merkel with migrants taking selfies, photos.

Migrants from Syria and Iraq take selfies with German Chancellor Angela Merkel outside a refugee camp near the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees after their registration at Berlin’s Spandau district, Germany Reuters


Angela Merkel‘s open-door policy towards immigrants fleeing Middle East war zones will, in the long run, make Germany safer from terrorist attacks.

By showing compassion to hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees, the German Chancellor has sent a message to the world that Germany is not at war with Islam.

More importantly, this means that the vast majority of Muslims resident in Germany have every reason to cooperate with the security services in the fight against terrorism.

This is not something that can be said of the marginalised and radicalised Muslim communities of the run-down suburbs of Brussels or Paris which breed and harbour terrorist networks.

The key to beating terrorism is winning the hearts and minds of Muslims living in the communities that are vulnerable to radicalisation by hate preachers and terror groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda. So while Merkel’s critics have been quick to blame her for the recent attacks in Bavaria it is possible that her actions have already saved the country from the kind of organised mass-murder bomb and gun attacks which have taken place in France and Belgium. These attacks have sprung from the suburbs of Paris and Brussels which have become incubators of terrorism. The hatred and resentment which has taken hold there may take generations to overcome.

Certainly the Paris banlieues and the Molenbeek suburb of Brussels are populated by Muslims who no longer feel they have a stake in mainstream society. Many of the young Muslims brought up there have already headed out to Syria and Iraq to live and fight in the caliphate. Those who have chosen to stay continue to nurse grievances against a state which sends more and more police into their communities to knock down doors and make arrests.

François Hollande has frequently announced that he is at war with Isis. For many Muslims who feel they have become criminalised by their religion the French President might as well be declaring war on them.

The truth is that foreign policy does play a vital role in the radicalisation and incentivisation of terrorists. It is a lesson that France benefitted from during the Iraq war when its government vehemently opposed that conflict. During this period France was free from terrorist attacks, whereas Britain who instigated and waged war against Saddam Hussein, suffered the London bomb attacks of 7/7. Spain too, a high profile supporter of the war, faced the Madrid train bombings in 2004.

Now France and Belgium are being targeted by sophisticated terror operations planned from Syria and Iraq as well as home-grown “lone wolf” jihadis who have been radicalised on the internet. The untrusted French and Belgian security services have been unable to gather vital intelligence from these neglected parts of their cities. This means the intelligence failures that led up to attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan, the Brussels transport system and Nice are likely to be repeated.

Critics of Mrs Merkel argue that by announcing an immigration free-for-all she has endangered the lives of ordinary Germans. But the recent flow of refugees from war zones into Europe has not increased the risk of terrorism.

This is supported by the fact that all three asylum seekers who carried out attacks in Germany this week had entered the country long before Mrs Merkel announced her immigration policy last year.

Her open-door immigration approach has done more to protect Germany from terrorism than any counter-terrorism policy because it has helped to reassure Muslims (living inside German borders and jihadis living abroad) that the German government is not at war with Islam. While France and Belgium are caught in a vicious circle of ever-tougher policing and increasing terror attacks, Germany has the chance to forge a different future.


German chancellor Angela Merkel will face questions on migrants and Islamic State violence as she holds annual summer news conference

July 28, 2016

The Associated Press

BERLIN — Angela Merkel is holding her annual summer news conference Thursday at which questions over her government’s policy on migrants and security are expected to dominate.

The German chancellor has faced criticism from opponents for her muted response to four violent attacks that shook the country over the past 10 days.

Two of them — an ax attack near Wuerzburg wounding five and a suicide bombing that injured 15 in Ansbach — were the first in Germany claimed by the Islamic State group. Both of the attackers were killed.

In two other attacks — a mass shooting in Munich that claimed 10 lives, including the attacker’s, and the stabbing of a woman in a restaurant in Reutlingen — the motive is still unclear.

All attackers but the Munich shooter were asylum-seekers.


Europe’s terror summer: will politicians now accept the reality of Islamic terrorism?

July 27, 2016

How is your Merkelsommer going? For now, Britain seems to be missing the worst. True, a couple of men of Middle Eastern appearance tried to abduct a soldier near his base in Norfolk for what was unlikely to have been an interfaith dialogue session. But Britain’s geographical good fortune, relative success in limiting weapons and our justified scepticism of the undiscriminating ‘open borders’ brigade mean that we have so far been spared the delights of what Angela Merkel’s growing army of critics refer to as her summer of terror.

It is now a fortnight since Mohammed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ploughed a truck along the Nice seafront, killing 84 people. The following Monday Mohammed Riyad, who said he was from Afghanistan but almost certainly came from Pakistan, screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ while hacking with an axe at his fellow passengers on a Bavarian train. The next day another Mohammed, this time Mohamed Boufarkouch, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and stabbed a Frenchwoman and her three daughters (aged eight, 12 and 14) near Montpelier. Mixing things up a little, that Friday’s shooter in Munich was a child of Iranians called Ali David Sonboly. Skip forward a couple of days and a ‘-Syrian asylum seeker’ with a machete was hacking a pregnant woman to death in Stuttgart. The next day another ‘Syrian asylum seeker’, Mohammad Daleel, carried out a suicide bombing outside a bar in Ansbach, Bavaria. And a little over 24 hours later two men shouting the name of Isis entered a church in Rouen during Mass, took the nuns and congregation hostage and slaughtered the priest with a knife.

Although the public know what is going on, the media seems loath to find any connection between these events. Indeed, the same papers that blame an exaggerated spike in ‘hate crime’ on everyone who voted for Brexit seem unwilling to put the blame for these real and violent attacks on the individuals carrying them out. ‘Syrian man denied asylum killed in German blast’ was the Reuters headline on the Ansbach story, neatly turning the suicide bomber into the victim and the German asylum system into the perpetrator. As Reuters went on: ‘A 27-year-old Syrian man who had been denied asylum in Germany a year ago died on Sunday when a bomb he was carrying exploded outside a music festival.’ How terrible for him to lose his bomb in such a way.

The more complex story of the Munich shooter allowed everyone to double-down on their favourite explanations for violence. Inadequate welfare provisions, unsuitable town-planning and bullying were all wheeled out to explain why Ali David Sonboly started shooting in a McDonalds. Others were a little too keen to claim him as an Isis warrior, when it seems he wasn’t. The BBC got around the problem by excising the ‘Ali’ and all reports of his religion. Instead, speculation about the shooting happening on the fifth anniversary of Anders Breivik’s terrorist assault in Norway meant that every-one could ignore the Muslim eyewitness who heard Sonboly shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ and headline on Breivik instead. Meaning that in Europe in 2016 a child of Iranian parents can be portrayed as a white supremacist, while no amount of Mohameds shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ can be said to have any connection to Islam.

The scene of a suicide bomb attack in Ansbach, Germany

Sections of the media and political class seem determined to stop the public coming to any conclusions. But most of us probably did that a long time ago, and these conclusions are being reinforced on a daily basis.

For the time being, the acceptable thing is to blame Isis. There is sense in that. The German train attacker had an Isis flag at his home, the Ansbach bomber left a video pledging allegiance to the group, and at least one of the Rouen church attackers had tried to travel to Syria to join them. The extent to which the group is involved varies, and they undoubtedly talk up their capabilities, but their ability to inspire as well as direct will be a problem as long as they exist.


However, opinion polls show that the European public know that the problem is bigger than that. Before Isis there was al-Qaeda. After Isis there will be something else. A poll carried out two years before the Charlie Hebdo attacks showed that 74 per cent of the French public believe Islam to be an intolerant religion incompatible with the values of the French state. The reaction of most politicians to findings such as this is that the public don’t know enough about Islam or haven’t experienced enough Islam. On the contrary many French people — like the Christians of the Middle East — have experienced quite enough, and do not like it. Mainstream politicians cannot agree with this, not least because they (and Merkel in particular) are responsible for the massive upsurge of Muslim migration into Europe that is fundamentally changing its future. But this is a gap which they must at some point bridge.

One way to do so is to be frank with the public even when there is a political price to pay. The French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, was heavily criticised for saying France ‘must learn to live with terrorism’. But he was right. Limiting the availability of guns and explosives is the most important step towards limiting terror. But you cannot limit the availability of knives or trucks, and although a lot of would-be jihadists may be deterred from losing their own lives if they  can claim perhaps only one victim, it needs only a few innovative attacks each month to change a country significantly. It is hard to imagine a security plan that could prevent another attack like the one in Rouen. President’s François Hollande’s ‘state of emergency’ has not stopped five terror attacks in the last eight months.

Father Jacques Hamel was killed in his church while saying Mass, July 26, 2016

Recognising this, Valls, among others, is willing to be strident about ‘Islamism’. But like every other European political leader, he is unwilling to admit where it comes from. Again, the public are ahead of him. They know that Islamism comes from Islam. The extreme interpretation may be a minority problem, but when a continent is struggling to assimilate the Muslims already here, there is a huge risk in bringing in so many immigrants from war-torn parts of the world where jihadism is already rampant. Some of this summer’s attackers were born here; others were recent arrivals.

Many of those who opposed Angela Merkel’s open-door free-for-all last year opposed it for precisely this reason. If Europe wants to help genuine refugees then it can help them outside Europe, as Britain has sought to do. It does not need to turn Europe into one vast refugee camp: we can’t afford it, and aside from a noisy fringe of migration extremists, the people of Europe don’t want it. The tragedy is that those in charge still refuse to face up to this problem or even find a decent political language for what is fast becoming an indecent political problem. Just this week, Jean-Claude Juncker said that however bad the terrorism gets, Europe will never give up on open borders. UN representative Peter Sutherland repeated his view that anybody who wants to live in Europe — even economic migrants — must be allowed to come here. Not to give our home over to the world would, he declared, be an affront to European values.

In Germany, meanwhile, despite the elections next year, no serious challenger to Angela Merkel has emerged. She is not about to turn around now, look at the disaster she has created, and say: ‘Whoops.’

So as the public continue to move to the right, their representatives will continue to stampede to the left. And the Merkelsommer madness will continue dragging on into the autumn. Which could be not just the autumn of this year — but the autumn of liberal Europe.



Germany must respond to Islamist terror with tighter immigration, Bavarian prime minister says

July 27, 2016

By Telegraph Staff
26 JULY 2016 • 6:44PM

Emergency workers and vehicles are seen following an explosion in Ansbach

The scene of a suicide bomb attack in Ansbach, Germany — Emergency workers and vehicles are seen following the explosion in Ansbach CREDIT:REUTERS 

Germany must face the fact that Islamist terrorism has arrived and respond with tighter immigration policies and tougher security, Bavaria’s state premier said on Tuesday.

“Each attack, each act of terrorism, is one too many. Islamist terrorism has arrived in Germany,” Horst Seehofer, a long-standing critic of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy, told a news conference.

“We need more security in Germany. People are riled up, full of fear, and that is completely understandable. They need reliable answers from politicians and not endless debates and justifications,” Mr Seehofer said after a meeting of party leaders.

Earlier, he had  told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung: “We must know who is in our country.”

Ansbach attacker’s housemate: He wanted to be the centre of attentionPlay!01:19

A spate of attacks in Germany since July 18 have left 15 people dead – including four attackers – and dozens injured. Two of the assailants had links to Islamist militant groups, German officials say.

Two of the five attackers recently entered Germany from Syria, another was from either Pakistan or Afghanistan, stoking concerns about unprecedented immigration after 1 million migrants arrived last year, many fleeing conflict in the region.

Immigration and security are sure to be big topics in next year’s federal elections, where the clash between Mr Seehofer’s Christian Social Union (CSU) and Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) may undermine conservatives’ hopes of staying in power.

Attack: Police restrain the Syrian refugee who hacked a pregnant woman to death

Attack: Police restrain the Syrian refugee who hacked a pregnant woman to death

Ansbach explosion eyewitness: “we were all petrified”Play!01:04

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told the news conference Germany should rethink rules that limit deportations of refugees for medical reasons, and significantly lower hurdles to deporting refugees who break the law.

“We must push it to the edge of the envelope currently permitted under European law, and we have to think about whether the EU rules have to be changed,” Mr Herrmann said.

The 27-year-old Syrian who blew himself up in the southern town of Ansbach on Sunday had been spared deportation due to medical reasons for over a year, but had recently been told he would be deported to Bulgaria.

He had also been in trouble with police for drugs and other offences.

Police raid migrant shelter thought to be linked to Ansbach suicide bomberPlay!00:37

Thomas Strobl, the interior minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where a woman was killed by a Syrian attacker Sunday, also demanded a tougher stance toward asylum-seekers.

“Those who abuse the right to hospitality must go back to their home countries – make no mistake about it,” Mr Strobl told Funke media group.

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats, has said no changes would be made to changing asylum or immigration rules until investigations into the recent incidents are finished.

Germany: After four savage attacks by Muslims in one week, Germans are living with more anxiety, fear

July 26, 2016

  • After four terror attacks in just one week, Germans are today living in fear
  • Spared the fate of Paris, Brussels and Nice, Germans thought they were safe 
  • DANIEL JOHNSON on the after-effects which will be felt across Europe

No emotion is more potent in politics than fear. After four terror attacks in the space of just a week, Germans are today living in fear.

No end to the nightmare is in sight.

And the after-effects will be felt across Europe.

Bavaria has borne the brunt of this wave of violence, because it was the main entry-point for the million or more migrants who arrived last year.

Attack: Police restrain the Syrian refugee who hacked a pregnant woman to death

Attack: Police restrain the Syrian refugee who hacked a pregnant woman to death

Two of the terrorists were evidently Islamist fanatics. The other two may have had other motives, but all four were Muslims and two were from Syria.

Particularly disturbing was the latest attack by a Syrian suicide bomber, who failed to gain entry to a music festival, where he would have caused untold carnage.

He had been refused asylum yet still allowed to stay in Germany.

This suggests the German bureaucracy cannot cope, though yesterday officials rushed to insist he had been due for deportation to Bulgaria.

In any case, ordinary Germans have had enough of these attacks – the first serious terrorism they have faced since the far-Left Baader-Meinhof gang wrought havoc nearly four decades ago.

Having been spared the fate of Paris, Brussels and Nice, Germans thought themselves safe. Now they are in shock and increasingly angry.

It is reported that police are investigating over 400 cases of asylum-seekers with possible terrorist connections.

Even before these attacks, at least two thirds of Germans believed Chancellor Merkel’s ‘open door’ policy last year was a mistake.

Uncontrolled immigration and open borders are now their major concerns. German politicians who poured scorn on the British for voting to regain secure borders over Brexit have gone strangely silent.

Munich attack: The Munich shooter boasted ‘I am German’ as he mowed people down in a McDonald’s and a shopping centre

Munich attack: The Munich shooter boasted ‘I am German’ as he mowed people down in a McDonald’s and a shopping centre

Equally vexing is the problem of integrating the millions of migrants already in Germany. They have been treated with generosity, but patience is wearing thin.

The Afghan asylum-seeker who turned on passengers with an axe on a train last week had been living with a German foster family.

The Syrian who slaughtered a pregnant woman near Stuttgart with a machete had a job.

The Munich shooter boasted ‘I am German’ as he mowed people down in a McDonald’s and a shopping centre. His parents may have been Iranian but he had enjoyed the same privileges as other young Germans.

Having lived in and reported on Germany for a number of years, I have grown to love the country and its people.

Their efforts to set the world an example of democracy and tolerance, while never forgetting the Nazi past, are admirable.

Yet it was a misplaced desire to show the world this liberal face of modern Germany that led Angela Merkel to impose her disastrous migration policy on Europe, and to offer an open door to all refugees from Syria.

The result was one million people – most of them economic migrants, and not refugees from war-ravaged Syria at all – entering the country in 2015 alone with more still arriving.

The pressure all this is placing on ordinary Germans is becoming intolerable to them.

Most Germans are deeply patriotic, but understandably –given their country’s Nazi past – they abhor nationalism.

In many ways they prefer to see themselves as European rather than German. Yet Europe is now seen as a problem which facilitates the flow of migrants and potential terrorists.

Until now, Germany’s default position to any problem has always been ‘more Europe’ or closer integration. It is a position being trumped by the overriding need for security.

This need, an abiding aspect of the German psyche, reflects the fact that the wartime legacy of destruction and occupation runs very deep.

There is a reason why ‘angst’ is a German word, and it does not take much to bring such anxieties to the surface.

When hundreds of women were attacked in Cologne by gangs of migrants on New Year’s Eve, the public reaction was seismic.

The machete attack took place in the city of Reutlingen and came two days after the Munich shopping mall shooting

The machete attack took place in the city of Reutlingen and came two days after the Munich shopping mall shooting

What gave the backlash its vehemence was the folk memory of 1945, when up to two million German women were raped by the Red Army. (Stalin’s only comment on his Army’s barbaric behaviour was: ‘We lecture our soldiers too much.’)

Most victims never spoke about it, but the national trauma has never been forgotten.

Along with Germany’s desire to be seen as a liberal, multicultural country, this reminder of the past explains in part why the authorities seemed in denial over the attacks.

Cologne police force was accused of deliberately hushing up the scandal. Broadcasters were forced to apologise for failing to report it.

The fact is that post-war Germany, while presenting its liberal face to the world, has failed successfully to absorb the Turks and other Muslims who make up a high proportion of inner-city populations.

Despite a thriving economy and a generous welfare state, third-generation immigrants usually remain ‘foreigners’ in the eyes of their German neighbours. The refusal of many Muslims to adopt German values is exacerbated by a multicultural approach that even Mrs Merkel admits has been a disaster.

Officially, Germany remains wedded to the right of free movement enshrined in the EU treaties. In its most radical form, this right underlies the Schengen Agreement.

Comprising 22 of the EU’s member states, the borderless Schengen area is supposed to be the EU’s proudest achievement.

Since the migration crisis erupted last year, however, seven of these countries have reimposed some form of border controls.

Germany has strict checks on its border with Austria, for example, to control the influx of migrants from south-eastern Europe.

As fear of terrorism spreads across the Continent, such controls are being extended. Non-EU nationals entering the Schengen area are supposed to be checked thoroughly before being issued with a visa that entitles them to travel within it.

But the presence of thousands of potential terrorists already within the area makes it increasingly risky to allow uncontrolled movement across internal borders, even for EU citizens. Schengen was moribund even before Germany came under attack.

The European political elites remain so wedded to the principle of free movement they were willing to sacrifice British EU membership rather than compromise.

But in Germany, the most powerful country in Europe, that principle is increasingly unsustainable in the face of public opinion that demands border security at all costs.

On the BBC yesterday, German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel criticised Mrs Merkel for irresponsibly encouraging refugees to come to Europe without regard for the consequences.

A polic officer in protective gear inspects a back pack used to carry an explosive device at the scene of a suicide attack in the southern German city of Ansbach

A polic officer in protective gear inspects a back pack used to carry an explosive device at the scene of a suicide attack in the southern German city of Ansbach

He even accused her of inadvertently helping the Brexit campaign, which claimed many refugees accepted by Germany might end up in London.

Many Germans now agree with this critique of Mrs Merkel, however proud they may be of her international stature.

She has survived for nearly 11 years –largely because, in the words of the poet and humorist Hilaire Belloc, modern Germans ‘always keep ahold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse’.

But they are now coming to terms with a new cautionary tale, this time about the risks of inviting strangers into your house.

Mrs Merkel’s guests have certainly made themselves at home in Germany – but long after ‘Mutti’ (or ‘Mummy’ – Merkel’s nickname) has moved on, her compatriots will be left wondering how many more just want to burn the house down.

Germans are not going to put up with living in fear. If such terror attacks continue, it seems increasingly likely that the country may abandon Schengen altogether.

Were that to happen, open borders would be a dead letter – as would the cherished principle of free movement.

Indeed, so powerful is this border anxiety in Germany today that it could bring the whole edifice of the European Union crashing down.

  • Daniel Johnson is the editor of Standpoint.

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Afghan Refugee That Attacked Fellow Passengers With An Axe on a German Train Had an Islamic State Flag Where He Lived — Hong Kong family in the middle of “a slaughterhouse”

BBC News
Germany axe attack: Assault on train in Wurzburg injures Hong Kong family
Police stand by regional train on which man wielding axe attacked passengers in Wuerzburg, Germany, 18 July 2016
The attacker fled the train but was chased and shot dead by police. EPA photo

A teenage Afghan refugee armed with an axe and knife injured four people on a train in southern Germany before being shot dead by police, officials say.

Three people in a group from Hong Kong were seriously hurt and one slightly injured in the attack in Wurzburg. Another 14 were treated for shock.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the attacker was killed as he tried to flee the scene.

The motive for the attack is not yet clear.

The South China Morning Post said it was believed the four injured were a 62-year-old man, his 58-year-old wife, their daughter, 27, and her boyfriend, 31. The 17-year-old son travelling with them was not hurt, it said.

A source told the paper the father and boyfriend had tried to protect the other members of the group.


Mr Herrmann said the attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who had been living in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt.

He told public broadcaster ARD that the teenager appeared to have travelled to Germany as an unaccompanied minor.

Bloodstains on the floor of the train carriage. 18 July 2016

Bloodstains could be seen on the floor of the train carriage. EPA photo

Mr Herrmann said authorities were looking into reports that the attacker had yelled out “an exclamation”. Some witnesses quoted by German media said they had heard him shout “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) during the attack.


The incident happened at about 21:15 (19:15 GMT) on the train which runs between Treuchlingen and Wurzburg.

“Shortly after arriving at Wurzburg, a man attacked passengers with an axe and a knife,” a police spokesman said.

Police said the attacker had fled the train but was chased by officers who shot him dead.

German emergency services in the area where a man with an axe attacked passengers on a train near the city of Wurzburg, Germany. July 19, 2016

Emergency services sealed off the area of the attack. Reuters

One local man told DPA news agency that the train carriage where the attack took place “looked like a slaughterhouse”.

He said he saw people crawl from the carriage and ask for a first-aid kit while other victims lay on the floor inside.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has condemned the attack. Immigration officials from the city will accompany family members to Germany.

Although the motive has not been established, the BBC’s Damien McGuinness in Berlin says there is nervousness in Germany about attacks by Islamist extremists following the attacks across the border in France.

In May, a man reportedly shouting “Allahu akbar” killed a man and wounded three others in a knife attack at a railway station near the German city of Munich.

He was later sent to a psychiatric hospital and authorities said they had found no links to Islamic extremism.

map showing Wurzburg location in central Germany

Germans Question Wisdom of Angela Merkel’s Refugee Policy After A Week of Attacks in Germany

July 25, 2016

German Refugee Policy Under Fire After a Week of Bloodshed

Police investigators work at the site of a suicide bombing in Ansbach, southern Germany.
Police investigators work at the site of a suicide bombing in Ansbach, southern Germany. PHOTO: DANIEL KARMANN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The Associated Press

Julay 25, 2015

BERLIN — Four attacks in a week — three of them carried out by asylum seekers — have left Germany on edge and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policies of welcoming refugees under renewed criticism.

Anxiety over Germany’s ability to cope with last year’s flood of more than 1 million registered asylum seekers first surged following a series of sexual assaults and robberies in Cologne during New Year celebrations.

But in the last seven days, the violence has become even more deadly.

The unprecedented bloodshed began July 18, when a 17-year-old from Afghanistan wielding an ax attacked people on a train near Wuerzburg, wounding five people before he was shot to death by police. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

On Sunday, a 21-year-old Syrian used a machete to kill a 45-year-old Polish woman in the southern city of Reutlingen. Authorities said assailant and victim knew each other from working in the same restaurant, and the incident was not related to terrorism.

Also Sunday, a 27-year-old Syrian who was denied asylum detonated a backpack of explosives and shrapnel at the entrance to an outdoor music festival in Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 15 people. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility, and German security officials said a video on the attacker’s phone shows him pledging allegiance to the extremists.

The deadliest attack came Friday night in Munich. The German-born, 18-year-old son of Iranian asylum seekers went on a shooting spree and killed nine people. The youth had obsessively researched mass shootings, and authorities said the attack does not appear to be linked to Islamic extremists.

© dpa/AFP / by Pauline Curtet with Deborah Cole in Berlin | Special police forces block the street near a refugee shelter where a Syrian migrant who set off an explosive device near an open-air music festival had stayed, on July 25, 2016 in Ansba

The violence followed an attack in the French Riviera by a Tunisian truck driver who plowed his vehicle into a Bastille Day crowd, killing 84 people in Nice.

Experts say the attacks are likely to inflame anti-foreigner sentiment in Germany, creating a challenge for Merkel’s government.

Merkel could now face increased calls for tighter border security and greater vetting of arrivals, even though the flow of migrants and asylum seekers has slowed drastically, said Florian Otto, an analyst with the risk consultants Verisk Maplecrof. The influx diminished after the European Union and Turkey agreed on a deal aimed at stopping people from reaching the continent by sea.

Although it’s too soon to say whether these attacks would threaten Merkel’s chances of staying in power after federal elections next year, “she will face more pressure and scrutiny for her immigration policies,” Otto said.

“The motives of the … attacks differ widely; they were not linked. But to some extent, that won’t matter in the public debate, which will be focused on the outcomes,” he said.

The sexual assaults in Cologne, which prosecutors said were committed largely by foreigners, fueled anti-immigrant sentiment and helped bolster support for the populist, anti-Islam AfD party in three regional elections.

Concern had lessened as border controls were re-established after being abolished for a time last fall to handle the biggest influx and warnings of a spike in crime weren’t realized. But with regional elections coming in the fall, this month’s attacks could give AfD fresh support.

On Monday, the AfD criticized Merkel’s administration, saying that under “the current ideology of a dangerous ‘multiculturalism,’ the country’s domestic security and the order of Germany keeps getting destroyed.”

Social media criticism of Merkel was especially harsh, with some people condemning her for accepting hundreds of thousands of migrants last year.

Merkel tried to calm the mood over the weekend by saying the security services will “do everything possible to protect the security and freedom of all people in Germany.”

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said most asylum seekers had come to Germany to escape persecution, and it was important to remember that only a tiny minority had links to terrorism. It would be wrong, he told the Funke newspaper group, to put all of them under “general suspicion, even if there are investigations in individual cases.”

“We are currently talking about 59 investigations for possible links to terrorist structures, and that’s with many hundreds of thousands of newly arrived people,” he was quoted as saying. In the overwhelming number of cases, reports turn out to be false.

De Maiziere called for Germany’s borders to be better protected without preventing people from coming in by legal and safe means “in reasonable numbers.”

In the Munich shooting, he noted there was no indication the gunman, born in Germany to Iranian parents, had failed to integrate in German society.

Nonetheless, “people in Germany are scared,” said Rainer Wendt, the head of the police union DPolG.

“Last year, we gave up control of our borders and instructed police not to check everything that should have been checked,” Wendt said in an interview on German broadcaster n-tv. “There was also this welcome culture, which stopped us clearly seeing that some people have come here who are up to no good, or who are so psychologically unstable that they pose a considerable threat.”

Armin Nassehi, a sociologist at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, said that among the 1 million asylum seekers who were registered in Germany last year, “there’s a big number of traumatized people who know nothing but violence — that’s a fact one cannot ignore.”

He pointed out that “most people who commit Islamist acts of terror are also psychologically unstable.”

Asked why there were so many attacks in such a short time, Nassehi suggested some of the attackers may be copycats, saying that “images of violence produce further violence.”

Asked how similar attacks could best be prevented, de Maiziere said it was important to ensure that new arrivals be well-integrated quickly into German society.

“Good integration policy is always preventive security policy as well,” he said.


Gera reported from Warsaw, Poland. Frank Jordans contributed from Berlin.




Wave of Violence Shakes Germany’s Calm

July 25, 2016

Renewed debate over country’s open door to more than one million migrants in the past 20 months

Police investigators work at the site of a suicide bombing in Ansbach, southern Germany.
Police investigators work at the site of a suicide bombing in Ansbach, southern Germany. PHOTO: DANIEL KARMANN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Updated July 25, 2016 11:22 a.m. ET

BERLIN—Four acts of violence in seven days have shattered Germany’s calm and revived an emotional debate over the security implications of taking in more than one million migrants and refugees in the past 20 months.

Police identified asylum applicants as suspects in three apparently unconnected high-profile attacks in the past week, from an ax attack on a train last week to a knife killingand a suicide blast late Sunday.

The bombing and ax rampage, in which a teenager registered as an Afghan refugee wounded five people, have been identified as Islamist terrorism. But all four incidents—including a German-Iranian teenager’s shooting spree in Munich on Friday that killed nine—have put the European Union’s most populous country on edge.

“I thought Germany was safe—no shooting, no terror,” said Faruk Sazil, a 30-year-old of Turkish origin, who owns and runs a Munich kebab stand next to the McDonald’s where the shooting spree began Friday. “Now I don’t know. Who can know?”

Authorities say the Munich shooter had been treated for depression and was obsessed by mass killings.

Sunday evening’s attack by a Syrian man in the town of Ansbach, which wounded 15 people, is the first suicide bombing motivated by Islamic extremism in Germany in years. German authorities said Monday the bomber had pledged allegiance to the leader of Islamic State. Unlike neighbors Belgium and France, Germany has recently escaped suicide bombings and other significant terror attacks.

“Until now, terror had circumvented Germany. Now the reality has taken hold that anyone who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time can be a victim. That provokes enormous uncertainty,” said Burkhard Lischka, a lawmaker focused on domestic affairs with the center-left Social Democratic Party. Politicians “now must do everything to guarantee maximum safety.”
A spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was on vacation Monday in the countryside outside Berlin, said the government was shocked by the weekend’s events. But it remained too early to predict consequences for the government’s refugee policy, she said at a news conference. Studies have shown that refugees were no more or less likely to commit terrorist acts, she said.

Nevertheless, conservative and populist politicians have seized on the attacks to slam Ms. Merkel’s promise that Germany would manage the enormous task of welcoming and integrating the influx of migrants and refugees who have arrived in the country since the start of 2015.

“’We can do this’ supposedly came true. Germany is paying a high price for that,” Frauke Petry, head of Germany’s populist party Alternative for Germany said on Twitter Monday. She was referring to the slogan “We can do this,” which Ms. Merkel has used to reassure Germans since the peak of the migrant crisis last summer.

Some Germans also voiced anger at Ms. Merkel. On Twitter, a hashtag #Merkelsommer, or Merkel Summer, was trending early Monday with users slamming the chancellor’s open-arms refugee policy and writing xenophobic comments against migrants.


Crime scene tape Monday lies in the courtyard in Ansbach, Germany, where a man set off a blast that killed him and wounded 15 people.
Crime scene tape Monday lies in the courtyard in Ansbach, Germany, where a man set off a blast that killed him and wounded 15 people.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

“They flee war and instead of being happy that they’ve found shelter here, they do the same here. I don’t understand that.,” said Ursula Altreuther, a 69-year-old resident of Ansbach, a town in the southern state of Bavaria, where the suicide bomber struck late Sunday. “It does start to scare me.”

Bavaria, the main entry point for migrants crossing into Germany overland last year, was the site of three of last week’s attacks—the ax assault in Würzburg, the shooting spree in Munich and the bombing.

“Bavaria is living through days of horror,” Bavarian State Premier Horst Seehofer said Monday. “The safety of our citizens has top priority.”

The string of attacks over the weekend sparked proposals from politicians for how Germany should boost its domestic security, including increasing police staff, tightening gun laws, reinforcing border controls, enhancing background screenings of migrants and quickly deporting refugees who commit crimes.

Mr. Seehofer’s Christian Social Union party were planning to discuss Tuesday concrete measures to boost security.

— Ellen Emmerentze Jervell in Munich and Todd Buell in Ansbach, Germany, contributed to this article

Write to Ruth Bender at and Anton Troianovski at




Germany warns of anti-migrant backlash after week of bloodshed

July 25, 2016


© dpa/AFP / by Pauline Curtet with Deborah Cole in Berlin | Special police forces block the street near a refugee shelter where a Syrian migrant who set off an explosive device near an open-air music festival had stayed, on July 25, 2016 in Ansbach

ANSBACH (GERMANY) (AFP) – Germany warned Monday of a potential backlash against migrants after a Syrian asylum seeker blew himself up outside a music festival, capping a week of attacks that has shaken the country.

The 27-year-old attacker wounded more than a dozen people in the southern city of Ansbach Sunday night and had spent time in a psychiatric facility, regional authorities said.

Berlin said there was as yet “no credible evidence” of a link to Islamic extremism.

Europe’s economic powerhouse was already reeling after nine people died in a shopping centre shooting rampage in Munich on Friday and four people were wounded in an axe attack on a train in Wuerzburg on July 18.

All three assaults were in Bavaria which has been a gateway for tens of thousands of refugees under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal asylum policy.

Merkel’s deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer expressed the government’s “shock” after the rash of attacks but also warned against branding all refugees a security threat.

“Most of the terrorists who carried out attacks in recent months in Europe were not refugees,” she told reporters.

“The terrorism threat (among refugees) is not larger or smaller than in the population at large.”

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere also warned against placing refugees “under general suspicion”, despite “individual cases that are under investigation”.

Police said the man intended to target the open-air festival but was turned away as he did not have a ticket, and detonated the device outside a nearby cafe.

“If he had made it inside, there would certainly have been more victims,” a police spokesman said.

The explosion went off in the centre of the city of Ansbach, not far from where more than 2,500 people had gathered for the concert, at around 10 pm (2000 GMT).

The perpetrator was killed in the blast and 15 people were wounded, four of them seriously.

– Attacker known to police –

Ansbach deputy police chief Roman Fertinger said there were “indications” pieces of metal had been added to the explosive device.

The attacker, who came to Germany two years ago but had his asylum claim rejected after a year, had tried to kill himself twice in the past and had spent time in a psychiatric clinic, authorities said.

He was facing imminent deportation to Bulgaria, where he was first registered within the European Union as an asylum seeker, a German interior ministry spokesman said.

The assailant, who lived in Ansbach, was already known to police, having been linked to a drug-related offence.

However a social worker who knew him, Reinhold Eschenbacher, described him as “friendly, inconspicuous and nice” when he came to his office pick up his welfare benefits, DPA news agency reported.

Stephan Mayer, a deputy from Merkel’s conservative bloc, insisted that it was “completely wrong” to blame the government’s refugee policy for the recent rash of attacks.

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

“We were not able to register and control all the migrants that crossed the German border,” said Mayer.

Europe has been on edge for months after a string of deadly attacks claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, including bombings in Brussels and carnage at Bastille Day celebrations in the southern French city of Nice.

– Obsessed with mass murder –

Meanwhile police released more details on Munich mall attacker David Ali Sonboly, saying the 18-year-old was depressed and had spent two months in a psychiatric unit last year.

The teen, who had German and Iranian nationality, was obsessed with mass killings and spent a year preparing for the shooting spree, police said.

At least 35 people were also wounded during Sonboly’s attack, which began at a McDonald’s franchise and ended with him turning his 9mm Glock pistol on himself.

Investigators have ruled out any link with IS jihadists, although he appeared to have planned the assault with chilling precision for a year.

Police have also arrested a 16-year-old Afghan friend in connection with the shooting.

The two were in psychiatric treatment together last year and allegedly met at the scene of the attack shortly before it began, prosecutors said Monday.

Hundreds of people, many of them in tears, gathered on Sunday outside the Munich shopping centre where the attack took place to pay tribute to the victims.

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 large kebab knife at a snack bar in the southwestern city of Reutlingen.

Police, who had initially said the murder weapon was a machete, added that Sunday’s incident in which three others were injured was likely a “crime of passion”.

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.

by Pauline Curtet with Deborah Cole in Berlin