Authorities probe possible terrorist ties to Frankfurt Airport attack | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 03.03.2011
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Authorities probe possible terrorist ties to Frankfurt Airport attack

German federal prosecutors have begun investigating the attack on US soldiers at Frankfurt Airport for evidence of ties to Islamic terrorism. The German media have reported mounting evidence of a terrorist motivation.

Police at the scene of the shooting on Wednesday

The attack left two American soldiers dead and two wounded

Frankfurt police said Thursday that federal prosecutors have taken over the investigation into a shooting at Frankfurt Airport which left two US airmen dead and two more wounded.

Officials have not confirmed whether they believe Wednesday's incident was linked to Islamic terrorism, but Frankfurt police spokesman Jürgen Linker confirmed that federal authorities were looking into a connection.

Germany's Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said Thursday there was no need at present to boost security measures.

"Investigations have produced so far no leads that would necessitate ordering a boost of police presence across the whole country," he told reporters.

A 21-year-old Kosovo national named Arid U. is alleged to have been behind the shooting inside a US military bus at the airport. The suspect was arrested at the airport shortly after the attack.

Following a police interrogation, the man reportedly confessed to the targeted attack and said he acted alone.

Media report terrorist motivation

US Soldiers at Ramstein load a tank in a cargo plane on their way to Iraq

US bases in Germany are used as hubs for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq

But the German media have reported there is mounting evidence that the accused shooter had ties to terrorists.

Reports quoted witnesses as saying that the suspect cried "Allahu Akhbar," ("God is great") before opening fire. The website of the broadcaster Hessische Rundfunk reported he had been in online contact with a radical preacher.

Spiegel Online, the website of the German weekly newsmagazine, reported that investigators were poring over a Facebook profile page believed to belong to the suspect, on which the user openly expressed his extremist tendencies.

Police in the Kosovan capital Pristina said the alleged shooter was an ethnic Albanian from the town of Mitrovica, an ethnically divided city in the north of the disputed territory. At the time of the shooting he was a resident of Frankfurt.

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama have vowed to do everything necessary to find out how the attack happened.

The bus of American soldiers was heading to nearby Ramstein Air Force Base, one of several American bases in Germany used as hubs for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two surviving airmen were in critical condition on Thursday after suffering bullet wounds to the head and chest.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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