Islamic State terror suspect goes on trial in Germany over attacks on Turks
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An alleged member of the Daesh terrorist group went on trial in Germany on Tuesday over a series of acid and arson attacks against Turkish businesses and a mosque in Bavaria.
The suspect, identified as Muharrem D., is accused of carrying out the violent crimes in the small town of Waldkraiburg last April, and of planning further attacks using a gun and explosives.
He is charged with the attempted murder of 31 people by arson and with grievous bodily harm against four, as well as planning a serious act of violence endangering the state.
Among the most serious accusations against the suspect is an attack at a fruit and vegetable shop, where he allegedly set off a fire, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Prosecutors believe this act alone amounted to 26 counts of attempted murder because 26 people were in the shop at that time. Four people also suffered from smoke poisoning.
The 26-year-old, who is on trial at the regional superior court in Munich, is said to have undergone a radicalization process from 2017 onward and then adopted Daesh ideology and became a member of the terrorist group, according to investigators.
The spate of attacks in Waldkraiburg rattled the Turkish community and was initially attributed to far-right militants.
However, investigators zeroed in on German citizen Muharrem D., whom they believe carried out the crimes alone.
Investigators said he also secured a pistol with ammunition, as well as “significant amounts” of bomb-making equipment for planned attacks on nearby mosques, the Turkish consulate in Munich and a major mosque in the western city of Cologne.
He allegedly manufactured 23 nearly-complete pipe bombs and 45 kilograms (100 pounds) of explosives.
The suspect is believed to have developed an “enduring hatred of the Turkish state and people of Turkish origin” because of Ankara’s intervention in the Syrian conflict, they said. Prosecutors added that he aimed “to bring about a spiral of violence and retaliation” with his attacks.
People with ties to Daesh have committed several violent attacks in Germany in recent years, with the worst a ramming attack at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that killed 12.
Germany is home to 81 million people and the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Of the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, at least 3 million are of Turkish descent.
Last year, at least four people were killed and 22 more were wounded in a terrorist attack in the Austrian capital, Vienna. Daesh declared later that it was responsible for the attack.
Following the incident, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the deadly terrorist attack in Vienna was connected to extremists in Germany.
A German Interior Ministry spokesperson also told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) that extremists are tightly knit across European countries.
“It is now a key task for German security agencies to evaluate and check these contacts,” he said.
Source: Daily Sabah