Arson attack destroys German refugee shelter

Police say fire that burned down temporary refugee shelter in Germany is 'probably' an arson attack

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A school gym planned to be used as refugee shelter burned down in Nauen, Germany.

Updated Aug 26, 2015

A school gymnasium in the German town of Nauen, that was planned to be used as a temporary refugee shelter was burned down on Tuesday in what police call an "arson attack."

Nobody was injured by the fire and no suspects have been identified yet.

Police in nearby Potsdam believe the fire was intentionally started rather than being a technical fault due to its rapid spread following its discovery.

The building located about 15 km west of Germany’s capital Berlin, was rearranged to hold about 130 asylum seekers, who have been waiting to get transferred to their permanent homes.

The attack came a day after another shelter - that was going to be used for asylum seekers - burned down in the south-western town of Weissach im Tal. Again the police are looking into the possibility of the fire being started deliberately.

Several far-right groups have demonstrated against the asylum seekers at various times in Nauen this year. There had also been violent prostests at an asylum shelter in the town of Heidenau, south of Dresden over the past weekend, where dozens of police were injured in clashes. Following the prostests German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the violence and announced she would be visiting the location on Wednesday.

Another incident on Tuesday was a bomb threat at the headquarters of the Social Democrat Party in Berlin. The building was evacuated and searched but nothing suspicious was found according to reports. Party officials said they had been getting threats after their party chairman and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel visited Heidenau on Monday.

Although such attacks have severely increased in Germany in this past year, the majority of Germans have been welcoming to the refugees.

The German government announced on Twitter that it will no longer be following EU’s Dublin regulation, which orders the asylum seekers to prepare their applications in the first member state they reach.

The country says it is expecting at least 800,000 asylum applications by the end of 2015.           

TRTWorld and agencies