AST Digital Magazine July/August 2016 - Page 14

Volume 6 Three of the 12 victims suffered serious injuries in the blast. 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,” Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann told German news agency dpa. Herrmann said the man’s request for asylum was rejected a year ago, but he had been allowed to remain in Germany because of the strife in Syria. Authorities on Monday morning raided an asylum shelter in the suburbs of Ansbach. One resident said he had occasionally had 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 group 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. Authorities said they were alerted to the explosion in Ansbach’s city’s center shortly after 10 p.m. Police said the Syrian blew himself up in the outside seating area of a wine bar near the open-air concert. They said in a statement that security staff noticed the man with the backpack near the entrance of the concert site around 9:45 p.m. Police spokeswoman Elke Schoenwald said he July-Aug 2016 Edition was refused entry to the concert because he didn’t have a ticket. He then sat down on a chair outside the nearby restaurant. According to witness accounts he briefly leaned forward at 10:10 p.m. and then triggered the explosion. The three-day open-air concert was underway, with about 2,500 in attendance. It was shut down as a precaution after the explosion. Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk reported that 200 police officers and 350 rescue personnel were brought in. The explosion came as Germany, and the southern state of Bavaria in particular, have been on edge. Earlier Sunday, 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 and the attacker and the woman worked together in the same restaurant. Polish authorities said she was a Polish citizen. 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. The Islamic IS group claimed responsibility for the attack. These attacks came shortly after a Tunisian man driving a truck killed 84 people when he plowed through a festive crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, along the famed French Riviera. In Munich on Sunday evening, 1,500 people gathered at the scene of the shooting there, lighting candles and placing flowers in tribute to the victims of an 18-year-old German-Iranian. Police said that he had planned the attack for a year. Munich authorities said Monday at a news conference that a 16-year-old Afghan friend of the Munich attacker may have known of the attack in advance. Police said Monday the teenager was arrested late Sunday and investigators were able to retrieve a deleted chat between him and the attacker on the messaging app WhatsApp. Police say that from the chat it appears that the 16-year-old met with the attacker immediately before the attack at the scene of the rampage — a mall in Munich — before the attack. He also knew the attacker had a pistol. 14