Ansbach blast: Syrian asylum seeker kills himself and injures 12 in Germany
A 27-year-old man who had been denied asylum dies after explosion in southern German town
A Syrian man has killed himself and injured 12 others after setting off an explosive device outside a music festival in the German town of Ansbach.
Authorities said the 27-year-old had been denied asylum a year ago and had a history of making attempts on his own life. Three of those injured are in a serious condition.
It is believed a device he was carrying exploded although it is not clear whether it was a suicide bombing or whether the man intended to plant it and harm others.
The Bavarian interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, said his personal view was that the attack was likely the work of an “Islamist” suicide bomber, but this theory was played down by authorities.
Herrmann told Deutsche Presse-Agentur: “My personal view is that I unfortunately think it is very likely this really was an Islamist suicide attack. The obvious intent to kill more people at least indicates an Islamist background.”
A spokeswoman for Bavaria’s police force told Reuters it was unclear what the attacker’s motivations were. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Ansbach also said the motive was unclear. “If there is an Islamist link or not is purely speculation at this point,” said the spokesman, Michael Schrotberger.
More than 2,000 people had been in the crowd in the small town of 40,000 people south-west of Nuremberg that is also home to a US army base.
Speaking at a press conference early on Monday morning, Herrmann said the man was carrying a backpack at the time of the blast, at about 10pm on Sunday, but was turned away at the entrance to the festival because he didn’t have a ticket.
The backpack contained metal items used in “wood manufacturing” and could have killed many more people, he said. Hermann did not specify whether these items were nails or screws
Live Ansbach bombing: attacker was rejected Syrian asylum seeker, say officials – latest
Attacker who died in a blast outside a music festival in southern Germany injured 12 others, three seriously
Hermann said the man’s request for asylum was rejected a year ago, but he was allowed to remain in Germany on account of the situation in Syria. “It’s terrible … that someone who came into our country to seek shelter has now committed such a heinous act and injured a large number of people who are at home here, some seriously,” he said.
“It’s a further, horrific attack that will increase the already growing security concerns of our citizens. We must do everything possible to prevent the spread of such violence in our country by people who came here to ask for asylum.”