Wednesday , June 3 2020

Germany shooting: Investigation into 'deeply racist' gunman's links – BBC News, BBC News



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Media caption Eyewitnesses filmed the aftermath of the shooting

The investigation into a deadly gun attack in Hanau is focusing on whether others knew about or helped organize it, Germany’s federal prosecutor says.

The suspect shot dead nine people “of migrant background” at two shisha bars on Wednesday evening. He and his mother were later found dead in his flat.

Peter Frank said material the suspect Tobias R had posted online showed a “deeply racist mindset”.

He had also been influenced by conspiracy theories, Mr Frank said.

Earlier Chancellor Angela Merkel said there were many signs Tobias R, , had acted out of racism.

Speaking in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said: “Racism is a poison. Hate is a poison and this poison exists in our society and is already to blame for many crimes.”

Turkey says at least five of the dead were Turkish citizens. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he expected Germany to “throw light on all aspects” of the attack.


Nazi salutes, banned swastika emblems and even the playing of the Horst Wessel, the one-time Nazi “anthem” – all have been cropping up in far -right extremist circles as Germany struggles to contain a growing wave of home-grown extremism.

The problem has been particularly acute in – but not confined to – the east of the country, in the former East Germany. There, unemployment levels have been higher than in the rest of Germany and a simmering resentment, by some, of the recent immigrant arrivals has manifested itself in arson attacks on hostels.

In 2015 Germany opened its borders to an estimated 1.5 million refugees from the Middle East. Although the number of subsequent incidents involving them has been very small, their arrival has been used by far right extremists to stoke ethnic tensions and recruit more young men and women to their cause.


What did the prosecutor say?

Mr Frank said six people had also been injured in the attack, one of them seriously.

Shortly after the attacks the suspect and his – year-old mother were found in his apartment, both also shot. A gun was found next to the suspect’s body.


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Media caption German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement in Berlin

Mr Frank said investigators wanted to establish any links the suspect may have had in Germany or potentially also abroad .

“My sympathies to the loved ones of the victims. I wish the injured a swift recovery. It is a day that will live long in our memory and will motivate our investigations, “Mr Frank said at a short news conference.

What do we know about the attacks?

The shootings took place around : ( : GMT ) on Wednesday, and the first target was the Midnight shisha bar in the city center of Hanau. Witnesses reported hearing about a dozen gunshots.

The suspect then traveled by car to the Kesselstadt neighborhood, some 2.5km (1.5 miles) away, and opened fire at the Arena Bar & Cafe .

Shisha bars are places where people gather to smoke a pipe known as shisha or hookah. Traditionally found in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, they are also popular in many other parts of the world.

                                                                                                       Image copyright                   AFP                                                        
Image caption                                      On Thursday vigils were held in Hanau and other German cities                              

The shootings sparked a manhunt. Police identified the gunman through information from witnesses and surveillance cameras. Early on Thursday, they stormed the suspect’s home, near the scene of the second shooting.

Hanau, in Hesse state, is a city of , (0 residents about km east of Frankfurt.

Who were the victims?

They included German citizens and foreigners aged between 25 and , Germany’s federal prosecutor said.

Among the dead were “several victims of Kurdish origin”, the Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said, adding that it was “furious” the authorities were not doing more to fight extremism.

A Bosnian and a Bulgarian also died in the attack, those countries’ foreign ministries said.

Ali Can, a German-Turkish anti-racism activist, posted a photo of a friend of his cousin, saying that the friend was among those killed.

Writing on Twitter he said: “We can’t spend a peaceful evening out, we’re scared for our lives. What is happening in Germany? Where is the protection?”


What do we know about the suspect?

Tobias R had posted videos and a kind of manifesto on his website, Mr Frank said.

In the manifesto he wrote that people from more than countries including Turkey and Israel should be “destroyed”, AFP reported.

London-based German counter-terrorism expert Peter Neumann said the text contained “various, but mostly extreme right views, with a do-it-yourself ideology cobbled together out of parts found on the internet”.

                                                                                                       Image copyright                   Getty Images                                                        
Image caption                                      The suspect has been identified as Tobias R                              

“The pattern is clear, and not at all new,” he added.

In her statement, Mrs Merkel said there were “many indications at the moment that the perpetrator acted on right-wing extremist, racist motives, out of hatred towards people of other origins, religion or appearance “.

Hesse state Interior Minister Peter Beuth said the suspect had not previously been known to the authorities.

The Bild tabloid reports he had a firearms license, and that ammunition and gun magazines were found in his car.

Gun laws in Germany are among the most stringent in the world, and were tightened further in recent years after other mass shootings.


Recent far-right attacks in Germany

Hanau Mayor Claus Kaminsky said it had been the “hardest day in our history”. He said the city had seen centuries of peaceful coexistence between different faiths and cultures – “That is why it is so hard to understand”.

Hesse state leader Volker Bouffier said the state parliament had traveled to Hanau to show its solidarity with the victims and their families. He said the attack “came out of a climate” that existed “to some degree worldwide” in which people are targeted because they are different.

“We will do everything to show that People don’t have to be afraid and show them that they belong with us, “he said.

                                                                                                       Image copyright                   AFP                                                        
Image caption                                      People attended a vigil for the victims in Berlin                              

However the co-leader of the far right AfD party said the attack was “neither right- nor left-wing terrorism “but the actions of” a madman “. Politicians from the rest of political spectrum accused the expressly anti-Islam and anti-immigration AfD of stirring up anti-foreigner hatred.

In other reaction:

(German German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer: “The background must now be clarified further. Violence from right-wing extremists must not let us rest, we must stand against it “ Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President and former German government minister: “I am deeply shocked by the tragedy that took place … in Hanau”

  • French President Emmanuel Macron: “Immense sadness and my full support for Germany in the face of this tragic attack … I stand with Chancellor Merkel in this fight for our values ​​and the protection of our democracies “


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