Frankfurt attack was 'Afghanistan revenge'

4th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

German prosecutors said Friday that an alleged Islamic radical accused of shooting dead two US airmen at Frankfurt airport did so in revenge for Afghanistan but had no links to international extremists.

The 21-year-old carried out the attack on Wednesday "because he wanted to take revenge for the US intervention in Afghanistan," federal prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum told reporters.

The shooter, originally from Kosovo but living in Germany, arrested immediately afterwards in the terminal building, told investigators he "saw a video on the Internet portal YouTube the day before the act," Griesbaum said.

"In this video, American soldiers apparently raided a Muslim house and raped the daughter of the family," he added.

"He said he could not get the pictures out of his head and wanted with his actions to prevent American soldiers going to Afghanistan and carrying out such acts," added the prosecutor.

Griesbaum said however that there were no indications that the alleged gunman, who had with him 10 magazines with 14 bullets each plus two knives, had links to any "international terrorist groups."

He shot the first airman in the back of the head at point-blank range after asking him for a cigarette outside their bus and asking if he was being deployed to Afghanistan, the prosecutor said.

He then boarded the bus, cried "Allahu Akhbar" ("God is Greatest") and shot the driver in the head, killing him. He then shot two others before putting the gun to the head of another serviceman and pulling the trigger twice, Griesbaum said.

The gun jammed however, the prosecutor said.

The man then fled into the terminal building, but the serviceman whom he had just tried to kill followed him and apprehended him with help of German police.

The attack, if confirmed as such, was the first Islamic extremist attack on German soil. It also left two airmen seriously injured, one of them fighting for his life in a Frankfurt hospital. The other was in intensive care.

Late Thursday, the US Air Force identified the dead servicemen as Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, of Williamston, South Carolina, and Airman First Class Zachary Cuddeback, 21, of Stanardsville, Virginia.

A "saddened and outraged" US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that Washington would "spare no effort in learning how this outrageous act took place."

A top German lawmaker called Friday for the expulsion of "hate preachers" after a suspected Islamic radical from Kosovo but living in Frankfurt shot dead two US servicemen at the city's airport.

"Religious freedom does not mean the freedom to do anything you like," said Wolfgang Bosbach, from Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party and chairman of the German parliament's home affairs committee.

"Whoever preaches hate in Germany must leave," he told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung (NOZ) regional daily.

© 2011 AFP

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