'Ansbach suicide bomber pledged allegiance to DAESH'

Bavarian interior minister says evidence on suspect's laptop reveals ties to terror organisation. Syrian asylum seeker's alleged attempt to bomb music festival is the fourth attack on German soil in a week.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Emergency workers and vehicles are seen following an explosion in Ansbach, near Nuremberg July 25, 2016.

Updated Jul 27, 2016

A 27-year-old Syrian man, who has not yet been named, blew himself up on Sunday outside a crowded music festival in Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany. The Bavarian interior minister said based on evidence found on his laptop, the suspect had pledged allegiance to the DAESH.

According to the police report, 15 people – three of whom were seriously wounded – were injured and about 2,500 people were immediately evacuated from the festival venue.

The bomber was refused entry to the music festival because he did not possess a ticket after which he detonated explosives packed with shrapnel in his backpack.

A resident in Ansbach, Thomas Debinski, said all people were panicked when they heard the explosion. "Suddenly you heard a loud, a really loud bang, it was like an exploding sound, definitely an explosion," he said. "(People were) definitely panicking."​

Ansbach is a small town of 40,000 people in the south-west of Nuremberg which also houses a US Army base. The attack in Ansbach is the fourth one carried out in the country in the period of a week.

Police secure the area after an explosion in Ansbach, Germany, July 25, 2016. [Reuters]

A teenager asylum seeker from Pakistan injured five people in an axe attack on a train on July 18 near Wuerzburg. He was shot and killed by police. The DAESH, a terrorist organisation, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On July 22, an 18-year-old Iranian-German gunman killed nine people in a shooting spree in Munich before killing himself.

And on Sunday, a 21-year-old male asylum seeker from Syria killed a woman and wounded two other people in the southern German city of Reutlingen. He used a machete in the attack.

Links to DAESH

"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," Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told reporters on early Monday.

"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," he added.

Herrmann said the ongoing investigation revealed the bomber was using two phones and multiple SIM cards.

"Some Salafist content was found" after an inspection of his laptop and, according to interior minister, the suspect had “pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi,” who is the DAESH leader.

An official photographs a flat where the 27-year-old Syrian suspect lived, after an explosion in Ansbach near Nuremberg, Germany, July 25, 2016. [Reuters]

Mental health                                                                                                             

The suspect came two years ago to Germany. He tried to commit suicide twice before. But there is no information if he had planned to kill only himself or “take others with him into death,” too.

The attacker was also facing deportation to Bulgaria where he entered the European Union for the first time.

Tobias Plate, a federal interior ministry spokesman, confirmed the man had faced deportation to Bulgaria.

"Syrians cannot at the moment be deported to Syria, but that doesn't mean that Syrians overall cannot be deported," he told reporters in Berlin. The minister also said the suspect’s application for asylum had been denied previously, but there was no reason to deport him then.

The interior ministry has also increased security measures in the country after four attacks in seven days.

A US intelligence official spoke under anonymity said the investigation would focus on what the bomber was doing while he was living in Syria, why his asylum application denied and what was the motivation for the attack.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann addresses a news conference after an explosion in Ansbach, near Nuremberg, Germany July 25, 2016. [Reuters]

Refugee policy

Both the public and politicians criticised Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel because of her open-door refugee policy. It seems the incident would also fuel public anger against refugees already in the country – Germany had a million asylum seekers in 2015.

According to German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees report, 162,510 applications for asylum were lodged by Syrians in 2015 of which only 36 per cent of all first-asylum applications were from Syrians.

At least 23 Syrian applications were rejected, and 4,178 applications were closed or withdrawn. 135,852 more Syrians arrived in the first five months of 2016.

TRTWorld and agencies