Hungary arrests suspect over Budapest blast

A Hungarian national, with no prior criminal record, has been detained on suspicion of carrying out a blast in central Budapest last month that had killed two policemen.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Police officers cordon off the area of the scene in central Budapest, Hungary, early Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, after an explosion

Hungarian authorities arrested a man on Wednesday on suspicion of detonating a bomb in central Budapest in September, in which two police officers were severely wounded.

Anti-terrorist squads arrested the Hungarian citizen in the town of Keszthely, southwest of Budapest, almost four weeks after the incident took place.

The man had no prior criminal record and most likely acted alone in the September 24 attack, police said, adding that authorities had found indications that he was planning future attacks.

“The case has one suspect,” said chief prosecutor Tibor Keresztes on Thursday.

He refused to divulge further details on the man's motive and declined to further comment about him. There was also no sign that it had been carried out by a foreign militant organisation.

Security camera footage that was analysed after the explosion showed an unknown man leaving a bag at the scene shortly before the blast. Pictures of the man’s face, partly hidden by a fishing hat, were released later.

The injured victims, a policewoman, 23, and her male colleague, 26, had been on foot patrol when the homemade, shrapnel-packed bomb detonated.

Immediately after the blast, Hungarian police chief Karoly Papp said that the attack was aimed against "the entire Hungarian police."

On Thursday, Papp notified the press that the injured pair had left hospital and were recovering to return to work in a few months’ time.

Authorities had offered a ten million forints (32,000 euros, $37,000) reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.

A nail marked with a circle lies near an evidence sign on the asphalt in a street in central Budapest, Hungary

Possible motives

Although the motive for the attack remains a mystery, Hungary has been gripped by a crippling migration crisis stemming, from the Syrian civil war, that has polarised the European nation's society.

The wave of migrants and refugees passing through Hungary on their way to countries like Germany has triggered a rise in xenophobic sentiment in the country.

In July, Hungarian politician and cabinet office chief, Antal Rogan, said that mass immigration caused terror attacks across Europe and blasted the EU to stop mass migration.

Hungary held a referendum on 2 October to vote on whether parliament should allow the EU to set a quota for refugee resettlement in the country. The referendum was considered and supported by the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban.

As many as 95 per cent of voters voted “No” to the quotas.

As the October vote drew closer, the Hungarian government launched a media campaign against refugees and migrants. The campaign provided a series of ‘Did you know?’ ads outlining negative statistics about refugees.

One of the ads read ““Did you know that since the beginning of the migrant crisis, more than 300 people have died in Europe in terror attacks?”

Hungarian opposition accused the government for spreading xenophobia across the country using negative ads.


TRTWorld and agencies