July 2016 – GERMANY – A gunman opened fire in a crowded Munich shopping mall and a nearby McDonald’s Friday night, killing nine people and wounding at least 10 others before killing himself, said authorities who called the rampage an act of terrorism. Police gave a “cautious all clear” early Saturday morning, more than seven hours after the attack began. They said a body found near the scene was that of the shooter and he appeared to have acted alone.
Witnesses had reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall, but police said on Twitter that “as part of our manhunt we found a person who had killed himself — the person is likely to have been the attacker who, according to the current state of the investigation, acted alone.” They lifted a shutdown of all public transport in the Bavarian capital, and said more details would be disclosed at a press conference later in the morning.
After gunfire broke out at the mall, one of Munich’s largest, the city sent a smart phone alert declaring an “emergency situation” and telling people to stay indoors, while all rail, subway and trolley service was halted in the city. It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. The previous attacks, in the French resort city of Nice and on a train in Bavaria, were claimed by the Islamic State group. While police called the mall shooting an act of terrorism, they said they had “no indication” it involved Islamic extremism and at least one witness said he heard a shooter shout an anti-foreigner slur. The attack started shortly before 6 p.m. at a McDonald’s across the street from the mall, which was filled with people doing their weekend shopping. As dozens of shots rang out, terrified shoppers ran from the scene, some carrying babies and pushing strollers.
Video obtained by The Associated Press from German news agency NonstopNews showed two bodies with sheets draped over them not far from the fast food restaurant. Another video posted online showed a gunman emerging from the door of the McDonald’s, raising what appeared to be a pistol with both hands and aiming at people on the sidewalk, firing as they fled in terror. Witness Luan Zequiri said he was in the mall when the shooting began. He told German broadcaster n-tv that he heard the attacker yell an anti-foreigner insult and “there was a really loud scream.” He said he saw only one attacker, who was wearing jack boots and a backpack.
“I looked in his direction and he shot two people on the stairs,” Zequiri said. He said he hid in a shop, then ran outside when the coast was clear and saw bodies of the dead and wounded on the ground. Germany’s Interior Ministry said Munich police had set up a hotline for concerned citizens. Residents of Munich opened their doors to people seeking shelter using the Twitter hashtag #opendoor. Also on Twitter, police asked people to refrain from speculating about the attack. Germany’s interior minister cut short his holiday in the United States to go back to Berlin late Friday to meet with security officials. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was being regularly briefed on the attack, said her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier.
“All that we know and can say right now is that it was a cruel and inhumane attack,” he said on German public channel ARD. “We can’t rule out that there are terrorist links. We can’t confirm them, but we are investigating along those lines too.” Altmaier noted that Friday was the fifth anniversary of the massacre in Oslo, Norway, by a far-right extremist that killed 77 people, 69 of them at a youth summer camp. “You can only have absolute security in an absolute surveillance state, and nobody wants that, it would be the opposite of our free western European way of life,” he said. “But, and this became clear again today, we can’t talk down this danger. It’s a danger that many countries are exposed, especially in the west, and that’s why it’s important to give our security agencies the instruments they need.” Police responded in large numbers to the mall in the northern part of Munich, near the city’s Olympic Stadium in the Moosach district of the Bavarian capital.
It was also not far from where Palestinian attackers opened fire in the Olympic Village in 1972, killing 11 Israeli athletes. Five guerrillas and a police officer were also killed. The GSG9 anti-terrorism unit was created after that attack, though the city saw a worse one in 1980, when 13 people were killed and more than 200 injured at the city’s annual Oktoberfest in a bombing blamed on a student with ties to a neo-Nazi group. It was the second attack in Germany in less than a week. On Monday, a 17-year-old Afghan wounded four people in an ax-and-knife attack on a regional train near the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, and another woman outside as he fled. All survived, although one man from the train remains in life-threatening condition. The attacker was shot and killed by police. According to the Daily Mail, “Witnesses said that the gunman screamed ‘I’m German’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ before shooting at children.”
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the train attack, but authorities have said the teen likely acted alone. Gun attacks in Germany are uncommon. Firearm ownership is widespread but they are strictly regulated, with purchasers first having to take training courses in order to be granted a permit to own one. Many types of firearms are banned. In the U.S., President Barack Obama pledged to provide Germany with whatever help it might need to investigate the mall shooting. –Chicago Tribune Daily Mail
Munich gunman ‘was 18-year-old German-Iranian’
A dead man found near the Olympia shopping center in Munich was the suspected gunman, police have confirmed. In a press conference in the early hours of Saturday morning, Munich’s police chief said the man had been identified as an 18-year-old German-Iranian who used a pistol to open fire at a nearby McDonald’s.
The motive for the attack, in which nine others were killed and several were injured, is not yet clear. The man then took his own life and was found in a side street near the center. He was not previously known to police, the police chief added. He had both German and Iranian citizenship. Three people spotted fleeing the scene of the attack, who police initially believed had been responsible for the shooting, have been identified and were not involved. –ITV News
Merkel under fire for open door migrant policy: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made an impassioned plea for keeping Europe’s internal Schengen—zone borders open, despite the migrant crisis. The warning of destruction, which has followed several others made at times where borders have had to be closed in order to manage the migrant crisis came as Europe braced for a “new wave of refugees,” reports Die Presse.
Following the so-called closure of the Balkan route — which nevertheless still sees thousands of migrants making their way to Hungary’s borders every week — focus has moved to Italy, as migrant boats sail from North Africa. The improving summer weather and sea-state conditions is exacerbating this trend, and has seen the key strategic Brenner Pass subjected to strict controls, and civil unrest. Mrs. Merkel said: “If now all come from Libya through Italy, to say we could simply close the [Brenner Pass] simply will not do. Then Europe is destroyed.” –Breitbart
Globalists push back against populism: As the reality of Brexit sinks in, the European Union faces unprecedented challenges. While the end-times scenario painted by European leaders in the run-up to Britain’s referendum was a wild exaggeration, urgent and determined action is needed to avoid the fragmentation that threatens the European project.
Neutralize the populists – Near the top of the to-do list must also be urgent consultations with established political parties on how to stem the tide of radical populist and anti-EU movements across the European continent. These movements have been growing for some time and have been strengthened by Brexit. –Newsweek
EU will be the death of Europe: Donald Trump is not bothered about “offending” Angela Merkel after attacking her handling of the refugee crisis, his closest aide has said. The German leader is said to have been upset after the presumptive Republican nominee for President branded her open-door migration policy “insane.” But Mr. Trump’s foreign policy adviser Mike Flynn dismissed concerns his comments could harm relations with Germany if he wins race to the White House. Speaking ahead of the Republican National Convention in Ohio, Mr Flynn said: “If she was offended by it, she was offended by it. That’s the business.”
“But the point was the incredibly poor decisions when it comes to allowing this unbelievable, unprecedented refugee crisis in Europe. Why are these people rushing to Europe and the United States, and not rushing to their own capitals or the capitals of the Muslim world? We ought to be pushing back. We ought to be putting people back on these boats and putting them back into the places where they came from.” –Express
Europe’s migrant crisis is already out of control