Germany eyes consequences after airport attack

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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 after Wednesday's attack.

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

The 21-year-old man from Muslim-majority Kosovo cried "Allahu Akhbar" ("God is Greatest"), reports quoted witnesses as saying, before opening fire on a bus of US airmen at one of Europe's busiest airports. He was then arrested.

The attack -- if confirmed as such, the first Islamic extremist attack on German soil -- left two servicemen dead and two others seriously injured, one of whom was fighting for his life in a Frankfurt hospital.

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.

Meanwhile, the head of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, called for 2,000 additional staff to monitor extremist websites.

"Only via a massively increased police presence on the Internet can the emergence of hate preachers or messages from Islamists be discovered in time," he told the NOZ.

"If it is technically possible, Internet sites from the Islamist scene must be blocked," added Wendt.

Investigators have begun studying a page on social networking website Facebook believed to belong to the suspect on which he made no secret of his extremist tendencies, and other Internet evidence, reports said.

German federal prosecutors, who have assumed control of the investigation, were expected to give a news conference at 1000 GMT on Friday to update reporters on their investigation.

© 2011 AFP

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