Ansbach attack suggests Islamist motive: Bavarian official
Bavaria's top security official said on Monday that he believes a failed asylum seeker who blew himself up and injured 12 people in the southern German town of Ansbach was driven by religious extremism.
Ansbach: Bavaria's top security official said on Monday that he believes a failed asylum seeker who blew himself up and injured 12 people in the southern German town of Ansbach was driven by religious extremism.
"My personal view is that I unfortunately think it's very likely this really was an Islamist suicide attack," Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann told German news agency dpa.
The 27-year-old Syrian blew himself up after being turned away from an open-air music festival. 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.
The unnamed man had repeatedly received psychiatric treatment, including for attempted suicide, Herrmann said. Asked whether the bomber might have links to the Islamic State group, Herrmann said that couldn't be ruled out, though there was no concrete evidence for this yet.
"The obvious intention to kill more people indicates an Islamist connection," he told dpa.
Earlier today, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Ansbach said the attacker's motive wasn't clear.
"If there is an Islamist link or not is purely speculation at this point," said the spokesman, Michael Schrotberger.
Roman Fertinger, the deputy police chief in nearby Nuernberg, said it was likely there would have been more casualties if the man had managed to enter the concert venue.
Three of the 12 victims suffered serious injuries in the blast. The attacker's rucksack had contained sharp bits of metal.
The explosion came as Germany, and the southern state of Bavaria in particular, have been on edge.
Earlier yesterday, a Syrian man killed a woman with a machete and wounded two others outside a bus station in the southwestern city of Reutlingen before being arrested. Police said there were no indications pointing to terrorism.
Two days earlier, a man went on a deadly rampage at a Munich mall, killing nine people and leaving dozens wounded. And an ax attack on a train near Wuerzburg last Monday wounded five. A 17-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker was shot and killed by police as he fled the scene.
Yesterday, authorities said they were alerted to an explosion in Ansbach's city's center shortly after 10 pm (local time).
The three-day open-air concert was underway, with about 2,500 in attendance, when it was shut down as a precaution after the explosion. Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson was the scheduled performer.
Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk reported that 200 police officers and 350 rescue personnel were brought in following the explosion in Ansbach.