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Germany: Far-right murder suspect linked to stabbing Iraqi

September 19, 2019

Authorities said the main suspect in the murder of Walter Lübcke had likely stabbed an Iraqi refugee two years prior. Prosecutors said the far-right militant had tried to kill the refugee in a "sneak attack."

Suspect Stephan E. accompanied by police
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/U. Deck

German prosecutors on Thursday said the main suspect in the murder of a local pro-migrant politician had likely stabbed an Iraqi asylum seeker two years prior.

The prosecutors said Stephan E., a far-right militant, had attempted "to kill an Iraqi asylum seeker in a sneak attack for base motives." They said he "approached the victim unnoticed from behind, and then suddenly stabbed him in the upper back with a knife."

"The deciding factor for the act is believed to be the far-right view of the accused," prosecutors said in a statement.

In July, prosecutors announced that they would investigate whether the suspect was involved in the stabbing of the Iraqi.

The far-right militant is also suspected of murdering Walter Lübcke, district president of Kassel, who had spoken out in favor of Germany taking in refugees during the so-called migrant crisis.

Read more: Opinion: German politician's murder is an attack on democracy

Walter Lübcke
Walter Lübcke supported Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to open Germany's borders to refugees fleeing war in Syria, a policy slammed by right-wing extremistsImage: picture-alliance/dpa/U. Zucchi

'Alarm bell'

Days after Lübcke's murder, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned of the rise of right-wing political violence.

"A right-wing extremist attack on a leading representative of the state is an alarm bell and is directed against us all," Seehofer said. "Right-wing extremism is a considerable and serious problem to our free society."

Germans are increasingly wary of right-wing extremism. More than half those polled in a survey earlier this month said they fear their democracy is under threat, pointing to the likes of the far-right Alternative for Germany.

According to figures released by the Interior Ministry, German authorities have registered more than 8,600 right-wing extremist offenses in the first half of 2019.

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ls/msh (AP, AFP)