A 27-year-old Syrian man who was denied asylum in Germany a year ago, died on Sunday when he detonated a bomb outside a crowded music festival in Bavaria, making it the fourth violent attack in Germany within a week, according to a senior Bavarian state official.
Police stated that 12 people were injured, including three seriously, in the attack in Ansbach, a small town of 40,000 people southwest of Nuremberg which is also home to a US Army base.
The incident will incense growing public uncertainty surrounding Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy, which granted over a million migrants entry to Germany over the past year, with many fleeing wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
Bavarian Interior Minister, Joachim Herrmann talking to reporters at an impromptu news conference, early Monday, said, “It’s terrible… that someone who came into our country to seek shelter has now committed such a heinous act and injured a large number of people who are at home here, some seriously.”
“It’s a further, horrific attack that will increase the already growing security concerns of our citizens. We must do everything possible to prevent the spread of such violence in our country by people who came here to ask for asylum,” he said.
Hermann claimed he was unsure if the man, who had arrived in Germany two years ago and had attempted suicide twice before, had planned to kill himself only or “take others with him into death”.
The attack marked the fourth violent incident in Germany in a week, including the murder of nine people by an 18-year-old Iranian-German gunman in Munich on Friday.
The man, whose identity has not yet been disclosed, was apparently living in Ansbach for some time.
Although he had been denied asylum, he had not been in danger of deportation immediately as there was a civil war raging in Syria.
Hermann further mentioned that he could not eliminate the possibility of an extremist-motivated attack, highlighting the fact that the man’s backpack was filled with explosives and metal parts that was capable of killing more people.
He added that investigators would do their best to investigate the attack and fully comprehend the man’s intentions and reasons.
A United States intelligence official, speaking in anonymity, claimed that investigators would center on what the bomber was doing before he left Syria, why he was denied asylum and whether the attempted attack was personal or political.
According to him, the man had been refused entry to the Ansbach Open music festival not too long before the explosion, which occurred outside a restaurant called Eugens Weinstube.
Police asserted that over 2,000 people were evacuated from the festival following the explosion. A substantial area around the blast site was cordoned off hour s later.
Thomas Debinski, an Ansbach resident, commented that people were in panic when they heard the explosion, especially following the events of the past week.
“Suddenly you heard a loud, a really loud bang, it was like an exploding sound, definitely an explosion,” he said. “[People were] definitely panicking.”
He said it became apparent that someone had detonated a bomb in a rucksack.
A 21-year-old Syrian refugee, earlier on Sunday, had been arrested after killing pregnant woman and injuring two people with a machete in the southwestern city of Reutlingen, near Stuttgart.
“After what just happened in Munich, and today in Reutlingen, what you hear about, it is very disturbing, when you know that such a thing can happen so close to you, in such a small town as Ansbach,” Debinski said.
A week ago, a refugee from Pakistan displaying an axe injured five people near Wuerzbuerg, in southern Germany, before he was shot dead by police.
Police believe that neither Sunday’s machete attack nor Friday’s shooting in Munich showed any sign of relations with the militant Islamic State (IS) group or other militant groups.
IS, however, claimed responsibility for the July 18 axe attack in Wuerzbuerg. It also claimed responsibility for the July 14 attack in France, which saw a Tunisian man driving a truck into Bastille Day holiday crowds in the French Riviera city of Nice, leaving 84 people dead.