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Ansbach attacker may have had accomplice

July 27, 2016

Bavaria's top security official has revealed new details of a bombing in the German town of Ansbach. In the wake of several attacks on German soil, officials have considered deploying the military in country.

Deutschland Bombenanschlag in Ansbach
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D. Karmann

Bavaria's interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, on Wednesday said that a suspected accomplice may have contacted the 27-year-old Syrian asylum seeker who blew himself up last week, injuring 15 people in the town of Ansbach.

"There was apparently an immediate contact with someone who had a significant influence on this attack," Herrmann said in a statement.

The state interior minister noted that the assailant was in an online chat immediately prior to the attack, although it is unclear who we was speaking to or whether it was a member of the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group said he had been in constant contact with a "soldier" of the self-declared Islamic State.

He said authorities discovered an "intensive chat" on the suspect's phone, adding it "appears to end immediately before the attack."

"Because of witness testimony on what happened and also the course of the chat, there are indeed questions about whether he intended to set off the bomb at that moment," he added.

On Sunday, the assailant detonated explosives in his backpack outside of a wine bar after reportedly being denied entry to a music festival in the German town.

Herrmann noted that the bomb likely went off before it was expected to, highlighting the fact that the suspect killed himself and only injured others.

'Islamic State' attacks

The attack on German soil is the second of its kind claimed by IS over the course of a week.

On July 18, a 17-year-old asylum seeker attacked several tourists on a train in Würzburg with an ax.

Shortly afterwards, the militant group released a video showing the assailant, and claiming responsibility for the attack. German authorities later confirmed the authenticity of the video.

Tensions remain high across Germany as officials consider how to bolster security across the nation.

After a deadly mass shooting in Munich, authorities issued a strategy paper detailing a Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces, deployment in the country. However, the proposal has been met with criticism among parties in parliament.

Interview with housemate of Ansbach Attacker

ls/kms (dpa, AP, AFP)