1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany to boost police presence after 'racist attack'

February 21, 2020

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has pledged to increase police presence at "sensitive institutions" across the country. Shootings at two hookah bars in Hanau were "the third far-right attack in a few months."

A police officer outside a mosque in Berlin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Jensen

Hanau's Kurds mourn victims

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Friday condemned twin shootings at hookah bars in Hanau as "a clearly racially motivated terror attack."

In a press conference, he warned that authorities should be braced for imitator attacks, pointing out this was the "third far-right attack in a few months."

He announced increased police presence all over Germany, especially in mosques, train stations, airports and at borders.

Read more: Opinion: Hate in the heart of Germany

Far-right attacks 'greatest threat' to Germany

Seehofer also disagreed with center-left Social Democrat Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, who identified far-right attacks as the "greatest threat to our democracy." Seehofer said he "could not accept," that statement.

"Far-left attacks are also a great danger," he said.

Horst Seehofer and Christine Lambrecht at Hanau press conference in Berlin
Horst Seehofer and Christine Lambrecht Image: Reuters/F. Bensch

Lambrecht added that Thursday was a "day of great mourning," and announced plans for new legislation against hate crimes.

"We do not want to leave the victims and their relatives alone at this time," she added, stressing that German authorities had set up a 24-hour hotline for any who have questions.

Seehofer had announced extra security in Hanau on a visit to the Hesse town on Thursday.

German Muslim leader: 'This was not a lone attacker'

Aiman Mazyek, leader of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany said "these are not lone attackers any more" in a later press conference, referring to other far-right attacks in Germany in recent years.

"These people can access far-right hate easily," he said. "They get support from all over the world."

"What else needs to happen, so that this will never happen again?" he added.

Vigils held after racist attack

What happened in Hanau?

Police reported that a gunman killed nine people in two different hookah bars in Hanau on February 19. Five Turkish nationals were among those killed. The suspect was found dead hours later at home, along with the body of his 72-year-old mother, in what appeared to be a murder-suicide.

A letter of confession written by the suspect and a video in which he espouses far-right ideology were also found. Federal prosecutors said they had taken charge of the case due to its likely extremist motivation.

Read more: Shooting in Hanau: 'We aren't safe anywhere'

"Today is the day we must show that we will hold together. We won't be intimidated," German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called racism and hate "a poison in society." Thousands gathered for vigils to honor the victims on Thursday evening.

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

ed/rt (dpa, AFP)