Police: German arson attack looks like a hate crime

20th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

No one was hurt in the attack that caused fire damage earlier this week.

Marburg, Germany -- An arson attack this week on the home of a Turkish family in Germany had the hallmarks of a race hate crime, police investigators said Wednesday.

Two men used a cigarette lighter to start a fire in the wooden cladding of an external staircase at the house in the country area of Dautphetal in Germany's central hills.

"We assume this had a xenophobic background," a police spokesman said in the nearby city of Marburg.

The Turkish family of three in the home put out the fire, which caused 1,500 euros (2,200 dollars) in damage in the small hours of Tuesday.

The mother of the family, 55, said she saw two men through a window as they ran away from the scene, waving fists in the air and shouting, "Foreigners Out." Police said neighbors corroborated this.

Two hours before the incident, the word "hate" had been scrawled with a wax crayon on a wall of the house.

The case comes two weeks after a tragic fire that killed nine Turkish nationals in the southern city of Ludwigshafen. Police are still investigating that fire and have yet to rule out either an accidental cause or arson.

An apartment-house fire near the Swiss border last week was blamed on a German resident of the building. Police described the suspect as disturbed, saying there was no evidence he had a racist motive.

Germany's minority Turkish community have been worried that they might be targeted by racist right-wingers.

Anti-subversion police have been sent to the Marburg area in an attempt to trace the attackers.

Dautphetal is an area of hamlets and villages with a population of 12,000.

DPA with Expatica

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