Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Germany to raise police presence after racist shooting

A photo is placed between candles and flowers at a monument after a vigil for the victims of the shooting in Hanau, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. A 43-year-old German man shot and killed several people at several locations in a Frankfurt suburb overnight in attacks that appear to have been motivated by far-right beliefs, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

A photo is placed between candles and flowers at a monument after a vigil for the victims of the shooting in Hanau, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. A 43-year-old German man shot and killed several people at several locations in a Frankfurt suburb overnight in attacks that appear to have been motivated by far-right beliefs, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Germany’s top security official said Friday that authorities will step up the police presence throughout the country and keep a closer watch on mosques and other sites after the racially motivated shootings that killed nine people.

A 43-year-old German man fatally shot the victims of immigrant backgrounds in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau on Wednesday night before killing his mother and himself. The man, identified as Tobias Rathjen, left a number of rambling texts and videos espousing racist views and claiming to have been under surveillance since birth.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said state-level security officials and security agencies he consulted Thursday agreed to increase the law enforcement presence around the country.

Seehofer said there would be more surveillance at “sensitive sites,” including mosques, and a high police presence at railway stations, airports and borders.

The attack came amid mounting concern about far-right extremism reflected in earlier attacks and the rise of the anti-migrant party Alternative for Germany, or AfD.

Thousands of people gathered in cities across Germany on Thursday evening to hold vigils for the shooting victims as calls grew for authorities to crack down on far-right extremism.

A top official in the centre-left Social Democratic Party, a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, accused AfD of providing ideological fodder to people like the Hanau shooter.

“One person carried out the shooting in Hanau, that’s what it looks like, but there were many that supplied him with ammunition, and AfD definitely belongs to them,” Lars Klingbeil told German public broadcaster ARD on Friday.

Parts of Alternative for Germany already were under close scrutiny from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency. The party has rejected all responsibility for far-right attacks, including an anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue and the killing of a regional politician last year.

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