Syrian refugee detonates bomb as Germany suffers third attack in week

Man kills himself and wounds dozen others in Ansbach, Bavaria, as southern state reels from machete attack and Munich gun rampage

A Syrian refugee set off an explosion on Sunday night at a bar in the southern German city of Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 12 others, German news agency DPA reported, citing the local interior minister.

The 27-year-old man, whose asylum application was rejected a year ago, had intended to disrupt a nearby pop music festival where 2,500 people had gathered, Joachim Herrmann said, according to DPA.

It was Germany’s third violent incident in a week and came as the country was still on edge after Friday’s mass shooting in Munich that left 10 people dead.

The blast prompted the evacuation of the music festival, authorities told Reuters news agency.


Earlier on Sunday, a Syrian asylum-seeker was arrested after killing a woman with a machete in the southwest German city of Reutlingen, in an incident police said did not bear the hallmarks of a “terrorist attack” and may have been a crime of passion.

Two people were also wounded in the machete assault, which ended when the 21-year-old assailant was hit by a car.

“At this stage of the inquiry we have nothing to indicate this was a terrorist attack,” local police said in a statement, adding that the attack happened after the perpetrator “had a dispute” with the woman.

“There is no danger to anyone else at this time,” a police official told Reuters.

After killing her with the machete, the suspect then wounded a man and woman before being arrested, the statement said.

The incident took place in the centre of Reutlingen, a city of some 100,000 located near Stuttgart, at about 4:30pm local time.

The attacker was “known to police,” the statement added.

“When a man and woman have an argument, we assume that we are dealing with a crime of passion,” a local police spokesman told DPA, after media reported that the attacker and the murdered woman were close and worked in the same snack bar.

The attack also came six days after a teenage asylum-seeker went on a rampage with an axe and a knife on a regional train near the southern city of Wuerzburg, wounding five people.

Authorities investigating the axe rampage said the teen responsible was thought to be a “lone wolf” who was “inspired” by the Islamic State (IS) group without being a member of the network.

Stopped by BMW

A police spokesman said he could not confirm a story in German tabloid newspaper Bild that the woman killed in the machete attack was pregnant.

Bild also showed on its website video footage of police leading away a bearded man clad in a dark T-shirt and jeans with his head bandaged.

A police spokesman told AFP the man had “been hit by a BMW as he fled,” but could not say if the driver had deliberately run the man down, as some media were initially reporting, or if he had been struck by accident.

Pictures from the scene showed forensic police sealing off the area and erecting a tent over the white BMW.

“The perpetrator was fortunately arrested and no longer represents any danger,” said regional interior minister Thomas Strobl, seeking to reassure Germans after what had become a bloody week.

Arrest in Munich

According to police, the 18-year-old Munich shooter is believed to have been “obsessed” with mass killers such as Norwegian fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group.

The teenager who shot dead nine people at a Munich shopping mall spent a year planning the rampage but selected his victims at random, officials said on Sunday, as police arrested a 16-year-old Afghan friend of the gunman in connection with the attack.

“We suspect that this boy aged 16 years could have been aware of the act,” police said in a statement after the shooting spree after which the attacker, David Ali Sonboly, killed himself.

The arrest is the first in the investigation.

The teenager “handed himself in to police shortly after the killing spree and had been questioned on his relationship with the perpetrator,” the statement added.

But officers had “uncovered contradictions in his statements” and he was now being held in custody for withholding information about a crime.

Bavarian police chief Robert Heimberger told a news conference on Sunday that Sonboly had visited the attack site and taken photos during a year of preparation.

Chief prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch added that the gunman had not “deliberately selected” his victims, dismissing speculation that Sonbaly had sought to target foreigners.


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