German State of Bavaria Sees Week Marred by Attacks

On Sunday, July 24th, 2016, a suicide bombing outside a music festival in Ansbach Germany wounded fifteen people. The perpetrator, a 27-year old Syrian refugee known to the media only as Mohammed reportedly attempted to enter a music festival with a backpack full of explosives and nails, inside which he was presumably planning to detonate the explosive device. After being denied entry due to his lack of a ticket, the man reportedly paced around nervously before sitting at a wine bar across the street from the festival, where the explosive device detonated. The bomber, had reportedly been denied asylum in Germany and had twice been ordered to be deported to Bulgaria; only a small minority of Syrian refugees have been denied asylum in Germany, usually for lying on applications.

While in Germany, the attacker had run into trouble with the law for drug crimes. According to reports, he he had also attempted suicide on two separate occasions. Immediately following the attacks, police entered the refugee’s home, where they found a video of him pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and another in which he “threatened a revenge attack on the German people”.

This is the third attack in Bavaria in the past week. On the same day as the Ansbach attack, a Syrian migrant attacked and killed a 45-year-old Polish woman with a machete following an argument according to police.

On Friday, 18 year-old Ali Sonboly, an Iranian-German dual citizen, shot and killed nine people outside of a shopping mall in Munich. While authorities claim that the man was not connected to any jihadist networks, media reported a witness describing the shooter yelling “Allahu Akbar”, commonly used as a jihadist battle-cry, at the time of the shooting.

Other sources, however, describe the shooter as a “mentally troubled loner” who was obsessed with mass shootings and had planned the attacks for a year; the shooter had also been under psychiatric care in 2015 and reportedly suffered from mental illness including anxiety and depression.

Police have arrested one of his friends, a 16-year-old Afghan, in connection with the attack. Police presently do not believe that the attacks are connected to any wider jihadist networks.

Six days ago, Muhammad Riyadh, a 17-year-old Pakistani national, carried out a stabbing attack on a German train in Wuerzberg. The attack injured four people, one of which is a coma. The attacker had come to Germany as an unaccompanied minor and had posed as an Afghan in order to gain asylum; he had been living as a refugee in Ochsenfurt for two years before carrying out the attack. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the stabbing, releasing a video of the teenager holding a knife and pledging allegiance to the caliphate.

The string of attacks is likely to reinvigotate anti-immigrant parties, who are likely to point to the attacks as evidence that refugees pose a threat to Germany. The attacks will also likely lead to further criticism toward German PM Angela Merkel’s migration policies, under which Germany has taken in roughly 1 million refugees.