Far-right beliefs suspected as motive for Hanau shooting

Thursday, February 20, 2020

A gun attack in which a man shot and killed nine people in Germany appears to have been motivated by extreme far-right beliefs, officials have said.

The gunman, a German national, opened fire in a hookah bar in central Hanau, near Frankfurt, at around 10pm last night.

He killed several people there before heading about 1.5 miles west and claiming more victims in a second attack.

Hookah lounges are places where people gather to smoke flavoured tobacco from Middle Eastern water pipes, and some of the victims appeared to be Turkish.

The attack is being treated as an act of domestic terrorism.

Forensic police attend the scene in central Hanau

Witnesses and surveillance videos of the suspect’s getaway car led authorities to his home, near the second attack, where he was found dead alongside the body of his 72-year-old mother.

While a full investigation is still in progress, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the shootings exposed the “poison” of racism in German society.

In a statement today she said: “Everything is being done to clarify, up to the last detail, the background of these horrific killings.

“There are many indications at the moment that the perpetrator acted on right-wing extremist, racist motives, out of hatred towards people of other origins, religion or appearance.”

She pledged to “vehemently and decisively” stand up to those who seek to divide the country.

Interior minister for the state of Hesse Peter Beuth said a website believed to belong to the 43-year-old suspect is being evaluated, with initial analysis indicating xenophobic views.

He said the suspect is not thought to have been known to German authorities.

Boris Johnson has tweeted his condolences to the German people.

He wrote: “My thoughts are with the people of Germany as they grieve those lost in the terrible attack in Hanau last night.

“The UK stands with our German friends against this racist assault on our values.”

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