Stockholm Truck Attack Kills 3; Many Seriously Injured: Terrorism Is Suspected

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Photo

Police officers near the site where a truck crashed into the Ahlens department store in central Stockholm on Friday. Credit Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A man steered a stolen beer truck into a crowd of people and then rammed it into a department store, killing at least three people in what officials were calling a terrorist attack in the heart of Stockholm on Friday afternoon.

“Sweden has been attacked. All indications are that it was a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement.

The suspect in the attack was still at large. But at a news conference later in the evening, the Swedish police released a photo of a man being sought in connection for questioning.

The authorities said they did not know if it had been an isolated assault, or something bigger. The Swedish intelligence agency said “a large number” of people had been wounded.

Photo

A picture showing a man who is wanted in connection with the truck attack in Stockholm was released by the Swedish police on Friday. Credit Stockholm Police

Mats Löfving, the head of national operative department of the Swedish police, said, “This is now declared a national security event,” adding that officers across the nation were on heightened alert.

The Swedish Parliament was on lockdown, according to news reports. Train service in and out of the city grounded to a halt, and the police, who blocked off the affected area, urged people to stay at home and to avoid the city center.

The police said the first emergency call came in around 2:50 p.m. local time as the attack unfolded in Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s busiest shopping street. Witnesses described a scene of panic and terror.

“I saw hundreds of people running; they ran for their lives” before the truck crashed into the Ahlens department store, a witness identified only as Anna told the newspaper Aftonbladet.

 STOCKHOLM
Drottninggatan
Mäster Samuelsgatan
Crashed here
Ahlens Department Store

Bystanders fled after a truck rammed into a store on a busy shopping street on Friday afternoon.

By TWITTER/JOHNNY CHADDA on Publish Date April 7, 2017. Photo by Twitter/Johnny Chadda.

At first, she said, she thought the noise was people moving things around the store, but then the fire alarm went off and staff members told her and other shoppers to get out of the building.

“We were running, we were crying, everyone was in shock,” Ms. Libert said. “We rushed down the street, and I glanced to the right and saw the truck. People were lying on the ground. They were not moving.”

Ms. Libert, who followed others as they were guided by officials to shelter, added, “My sister in law and some friends are close to the scene and at lockdown, can’t leave their office.”

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The front part of the truck ended up inside the department store.Credit Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

She said that she usually avoided busy areas that could be potential terrorist targets, but that she had decided to take the Friday afternoon off to do some shopping.

“Some people felt that this was just a matter of time,” she said. “Paris, Brussels, London and now Stockholm. I just had a feeling something like this would happen.”

After the assailant plowed into people, the front of the truck ended up inside the department store.

A representative of the Spendrups brewery told Radio Sweden that the vehicle had been taken earlier in the day. A spokesman for the company told SVT, a national public broadcaster, that the truck had been stolen while the driver was loading it from the rear.

The brewery’s driver told the police that a masked man stole the vehicle, and that he was injured trying to stop him, the authorities said.

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The police outside Stockholm’s central train station. Security was increased on Friday after the attack at a department store nearby. Credit News Agency/Reuters

At the news conference, officials released a photo of a man wearing a hoodie. They did not name him as a suspect, saying only that they wanted to question him in connection with the attack.

The national police chief, Dan Eliasson, said, “We have the truck and the driver who usually drives it, but we do not have contact with the person or persons who drove it.”

Mr. Löfving, also of the police, asked for the public’s help in sharing the photo: “We want to get in touch with this man.”

The authorities also said that they could not confirm the number of dead or injured until they received more information from the hospitals.

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People reacted after the attack at a department store in Stockholm. Credit News Agency/Reuters

The chief medical doctor at Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital, Nelson Follin, told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the hospital was treating “a handful” of people.

“The injuries are quite serious, but for now I cannot give further comments on conditions,” Dr. Follin said.

Previous accounts of shots being fired in parts of Stockholm were unfounded, the police said, adding that officers across Sweden were protecting high-risk sites.

The attack reverberated as far away as Norway, where the police said on Twitter that officers in that nation’s largest cities and at the airport in Oslo would be armed until further notice following the attack in Stockholm.

Photo

Some of the wounded in a street near the site of the attack. Credit Per Haljestam/Reuters

The assault came after several other episodes in Europe in the past year in which a vehicle was used to attack people.

The Islamic State group revived the idea of using cars as weapons after it broke with Al Qaeda in 2014. In the past year, ISIS militants have claimed responsibility for the deaths of more than 100 people in Europe.

In France, a man drove into a crowd on a busy seaside promenade during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice.

Another attacker plowed a truck into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin.

And last month, an assailant drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge near Parliament in London.

Other attempts, including an episode in which a man tried to drive over pedestrians in Antwerp, Belgium, claimed no victims, but have contributed to a sense of dread across the Continent.

Although some Swedes have expressed concern that immigration has led to a crime wave in the country — and President Trump seemed to suggest in a speech on Feb. 18 that there had been an attack in Sweden, when in fact nothing had occurred — the country and the region remain largely peaceful and safe.

The most notable exception came in 2010, when an assailant killed himself and wounded two others after detonating two bombs in central Stockholm, on a side street not far from where the attack on Friday took place.

The attack in 2010 was said to be the first suicide bombing in Scandinavia, and it caused consternation in Sweden. It was linked to an Iraqi-born Swede who had attended college in Britain.

On Friday, the police said they were well-trained for these types of episodes. “Last week we rehearsed a similar scenario,” said Anders Thornberg, chief of national intelligence.

Continue reading the main story

Germany: After Berlin Murders Chancellor Merkel Political Career Is In Jeopardy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST/WORLD POST)

THE WEEKEND ROUNDUP 

Europe was already reeling from major terror attacks in Brussels, Paris and Nice as well as Brexit and the defeat of the political establishment in the Italian referendum before this week. With anti-immigrant parties standing ambitiously in the wings waiting for events to further boost them into power, the worst thing that could have happened, the shoe waiting to drop, was a terror attack at Christmas time in Germany by an asylum-seeker linked to Islamist terror groups. It is just that which took place in Berlin this week.

That the inevitable has now occurred likely seals the political fate of Europe. Public opinion will surely turn decisively against the open-arms refugee policy of German Chancellor Angela Merkel — the most prominent defender of the troubled European project of integration and the free movement of people. Merkel’s coalition partner (yet mainstream opponent) Horst Seehofer of the Bavarian Christian Social Union, has already laid down the challenge. “We owe it to the victims, to those affected and to the whole population to rethink our immigration and security policy and to change it.” As Nick Robins-Early reports, the Alternative for Germany party and other anti-immigrant groups are already capitalizing on the incident. One AfD leader called those killed “Merkel’s dead.”

Alex Görlach hopes that Merkel’s considerable political skills can save the day by adjusting the Europe-wide refugee policy in the wake of this week’s tragedy. That she is also the only European leader who can stand up to the next American president, Görlach notes, could be a political asset.

Yet, even if the chancellor survives, the damage has already been done. The European idea, which has been losing luster for years, looks to be the latest and most consequential casualty of a world in turmoil that stretches from the rubble of Aleppo to the World War II memorial ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, near where the Christmas market attack took place in Berlin.

Writing from Germany, Stefan Schmidt argues that his fellow citizens should resist calls to blame anyone but the perpetrator while continuing to embrace the values of an open, but inevitably vulnerable, society. In a similar vein,Sebastian Christ writes from Berlin that, “We can’t give in to those who want to force their hate-filled world view on us. … On top of everything, we must continue to hold on to freedom for ourselves. I will definitely continue going to Christmas markets in Berlin.”

Picking up on the theme in the back of everyone’s mind about Muslims at Christmas, Dean Obeidallah fondly remembers his Muslim father, born near Jesus’ birthplace of Bethlehem, hanging Christmas lights on their home in New Jersey as a child. He also surveys other American Muslims who partake in the holiday, including Aasif Mandvi.

Unfortunately, the attack in Germany wasn’t the only attack we saw this week. Another act that shocked the world took place in Ankara, where the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated. John Tures, who has studied the different motivations and effectiveness of “lone wolf” versus “wolf pack” terrorists linked to organized extremists, argues that preventing future attacks, whether of the kind in Berlin or Ankara, requires being able to distinguish between these two threats.

Details are still emerging about the attack in Ankara, but it appears to be an apparent act of revenge over the Kremlin’s key role in the brutal assault on Aleppo in recent weeks. As Alex Motyl writes, more such attacks can be expected due to Putin’s Syria policy. “Anti-Russian terrorism is the new normal,” he says. Turkish journalist Ilgin Yorulmaz ponders the timing of the assassination in Ankara, which came on the eve of a tripartite meeting of Russia, Turkey and Iran concerning Syria, and reports that some suspect a geopolitical aim. “A strong NATO member,” she writes, “Turkey may have found a new ally in Russia, and possibly even Iran, to become a game changer in the Middle East.”

This week also saw the last evacuations out of Aleppo. Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, whose organization has been working on the ground in the besieged city, offers a detailed account of the humanitarian catastrophe there, which he says is far from over after the forced relocations. “The world has failed the people of Aleppo time and time again,” he writes, “but it’s not too late to act now to help those seeking refuge somewhere else. The international community must do everything in its power to protect these most vulnerable of people. They continue to suffer while the world is standing idly by.”

Writing from Moscow before the Syrian regime claimed control over all of Aleppo,Vladimir Frolov proposes that the best course for the Kremlin now would be, “declaring victory in Aleppo, scaling down its military operations against the rebels, refocusing its air war on ISIS in a new collaborative effort with the U.S. and pressuring the Assad regime into a political settlement.”

Returning to the hot issue of Russian influence meddling in the affairs of democracies, Toomas Hendrik Ilves knows from whence he speaks. In 2007, the former president of Estonia experienced a Kremlin-led cyberattack on his government, banking and news media servers. He expects more such attacks in Europe as elections loom. “The conundrum that Europe will face in the coming year,” he writes from Tallinn, “is whether or not to use illiberal methods to safeguard the liberal state. … Because of cyberattacks and fake news, we can already imagine the problem all democratic societies will face in future elections: how to limit lies when they threaten democracy?”

In an exclusive interview, former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski claims Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in the effort to tip the recent American election scales in Trump’s favor. “Yes. Russian intelligence was involved, no question,” he says, “Yes. Putin plays that kind of direct role. Russian intelligence is not some independent agency. It is an agency of the state organized for specific political purposes. Putin absolutely controls the state apparatus. No doubts there.” He also warns that “stupid irritations” over Taiwan risk derailing America’s most important foreign policy relationship with Beijing. “A world in which America and China are cooperating,” Brzezinski underscores, “is a world in which American influence is maximized.”

One of the hottest issues in the U.S. presidential campaign was Donald Trump’s pledge to build a wall with Mexico. Writing from Mexico City, Homero Aridjis and James Ramey offer a highly innovative proposal: Instead of Trump’s wall, they want to build a border of solar panels. “It would have a civilizing effect in a dangerous area,” they contend. “Since solar plants use security measures to keep intruders out, the solar border would serve as a de facto virtual fence, reducing porousness of the border while producing major economic, environmental and security benefits on both sides.” Such an installation, they continue, “would make trafficking drugs, arms and people all the more difficult for criminal cartels. In Mexico, the solar border would create a New Deal-like source of high-tech construction and technology jobs all along the border, which could absorb a significant number of would-be migrant workers on their way to cross into the U.S. illegally, at great physical risk.”

Rolling back globalization to stem joblessness and inequality was another prime issue in the recent presidential election campaign. Branko Milanovic takes up this challenge, arguing that reversing globalization would only reduce growth rates in both the advanced and emerging economies, to no one’s benefit. “A more promising avenue for dealing with inequality in rich countries for the 21st century,” he writes, “is to reduce inequality in human and financial capital endowments. This implies, first, reversing the currently extraordinary high concentration of capital assets by giving the middle classes fiscal and other incentives to invest and own assets and, second, equalizing access to high-quality education that is increasingly monopolized by the rich.” A special Highline investigative report we publish this week traces the corporations and criminals profiting handsomely from the refugee crisis.

Berlin Truck Attacker Shot And Killed In Milan Italy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

ISIS-linked news agency releases video of Berlin attacker swearing allegiance to the radical group

Suspected Berlin attacker killed in Milan
 
Tunisian migrant Anis Amri was shot and killed in Milan early on Dec. 23, after a massive manhunt. The 24-year-old suspect of the Berlin Christmas market attack shot a police officer in Italy before he killed in a shoot-out. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
December 23 at 10:39 AM
BERLIN — The suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack was shot dead Friday by an Italian police trainee after an identity check in Milan, ending an international manhunt but raising new fears as an Islamic State video purported to show the attacker calling for more bloodshed in Europe.The 24-year-old Tunisian, Anis Amri, was killed following a dramatic encounter in the Piazza I Maggio in the Sesto San Giovanni area outside Milan, after a two-man patrol stopped him for questioning around 3:15 a.m. on suspicion of burglary.One of the officers requested his identification. Amri responded by pretending to fish in his backpack for documents. Instead, he pulled a gun, shooting one officer in the shoulder.Amri, who spoke Italian, then ducked behind a car, shouting “poliziotti bastardi” — police bastards. The second patrolmen — trainee Luca Scatà — fired back, killing Amri, according to Italian officials.

“He was the most-wanted man in Europe” said Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti. “There is absolutely no doubt that the person killed is Anis Amri.”

In Germany, Federal Attorney General Peter Frank said fingerprints confirmed Amri was the man killed. But German and European authorities grappled with how Amri — who Italian authorities say traveled by train through France — managed to slip out of Berlin and make it all the way to Milan almost three days after he was named as the prime suspect.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday thanked Italian authorities, while adding “the Amri case raises a number of questions . . . We will now press ahead and look into in how far state measures need to be changed.”

Hours after the shootout, the Islamic State-linked news agency, Amaq, released a video the purports to show Amri swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State.

Speaking in black-hooded windbreaker on Berlin bridge, only 1.5 miles from the German chancellery, he called on Muslims in Europe to rise up and strike at “crusaders.”

“God willing, we will slaughter you like pigs,” he said in the video, whose date and location was not given but looked like it was filmed in winter weather.

He added, “to my brothers everywhere, fight for the sake of Allah. Protect our religion. Everyone can do this in their own way. People who can fight should fight, even in Europe.”

The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed, but previous material released by Amaq has been credible.

Earlier, a statement carried on Amaq described Amri as inspired by the Islamic State.

In Oueslatia, Amri’s bleak home town in Tunisia, news of his death had reached his mother, five sisters and three brothers, who until the end held hopes that the German authorities were after the wrong guy.

His 30-year old brother Walid Amri sounded distressed and was struggling to speak over the phone. Women were wailing in the background.

“This is a very difficult time for the entire family,” he said, before his voice broke.

While Amri’s death ended the hunt for the suspect who drove a truck into a teeming Christmas market on Monday, killing 12 and wounding dozens, it also raised a whole new set of questions.

Amri appeared to travel right under the noses of European authorities, through a circuitous route.

After leaving Berlin, Amri is believed to have traveled by train through the French city of Chambery and appears to have stopped in Turin, Italy, before arriving in Milan, said Alberto Nobili, coordinator of the anti-terrorism department at the district attorney’s office in Milan. Milan police say they have surveillance video placing Amri at Milan’s train station around 1 a.m.

German officials said the investigation would accelerate toward possible accomplices and the route Amri took to escape Berlin. “If there are others who are guilty or accomplices, we will hold them accountable,” Merkel said.

Nobili said Italian authorities were sharing ballistic information with the Germans to ascertain whether the gun used to shoot the Italian police officer was the same one used to slay the Polish driver whose truck Amri is believed to have hijacked on Monday before slamming into the Christmas market, killing 12 and wounding dozens.

His death in Italy also raised serious questions about the handling of the case by German authorities. German investigators only uncovered their single biggest clue — his wallet with identification left in the truck’s cabin — the following day after the attack, suggesting the delay may have facilitated his flight from Germany.

“We need to increase international collaboration against terrorism,” Gentiloni said.

Minniti said he had phoned the wounded Italian officer, Cristian Movio, and Scatà, an agent-in-training. Already, Facebook sites and other social media sites were popping up, including ““give Luca Scatà a medal” and “Luca Scatà world HERO.”

“Thanks to him Italians can have a Merry Christmas,” Minniti said.

By heading to Italy, Amri was, to some extent, retracing his steps. He had first arrived in Europe in April 2011 on the Italian island of Lampedusa, and spent four years in jail in Sicily, where Italian officials believe he was radicalized.

The news of Amri’s death came as German police said they had thwarted yet another terrorist attack planned against a shopping mall and arrested two brothers from Kosovo.

Authorities detained the brothers, aged 28 and 31, after receiving an intelligence tip-off, according to North Rhine Westphalia police. Security at the Centro Mall in the western German city of Oberhausen has been beefed up.

Amri had a criminal record in Europe and his native Tunisia, where he was accused of hijacking a van with a gang of thieves. Italian authorities jailed him in 2011 for arson and violent assault at his migrant reception center for minors on the isle of Sicily.

There, his family noted, the boy who once drank alcohol — and never went to mosque — suddenly got religion.

He began to pray, asking his family to send him religious books. The Italian Bureau of Prisons submitted a report to a government ­anti-terrorism commission on Amri’s rapid radicalization, warning that he was embracing dangerous ideas of Islamist ­extremism and had threatened Christian inmates, according to an Italian government official with knowledge of the situation. The dossier was first reported by ANSA, the state-run Italian news service.

The Italians tried to deport Amri but could not. They sent his fingerprints and photo to the Tunisian consulate, but the authorities there refused to recognize Amri as a citizen. The Italians, officials there say, could not even establish his true identity. Italy’s solution: After four years in jail, they released him anyway — giving him seven days to leave the country.

He had previously known links to Islamist extremists, and German efforts to deport him also failed because Tunisia had initially refused to take him back.

In Germany, the case was already having serious repercussions — with talk of pushing through stricter legislation on the deportation of migrants, particularly those with criminal records. The Germans are especially seeking to deport North Africans who have claimed asylum, and whose countries of origin have refused to take them back.

Merkel said Wednesday she had earlier spoken on the phone with Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi.

“I told the president that we have to significantly speed up the return process and continue to increase the number of returnees.” she said. “We can be relieved at the end of this week that an acute danger has ended. The general threat of terrorism, however, continues to exist, as it has for many years.”

Pitrelli reported from Rome. Stephanie Kirchner in Berlin contributed to this report.

France Increases Security At Christmas Markets After Berlin Truck Attack: 9 Murdered

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

France increases security at Christmas markets after Berlin truck incident

France will increase security at Christmas markets across the country after a truck plowed into people at a seasonal market in Berlin on Monday, killing at least nine people, the Interior Ministry said.

“Franco-German cooperation will continue with no respite so that democracies win the war against those who want to strike at our values and freedoms,” the ministry said in a statement.

“All security forces will keep to a maximum level of vigilance. Security at Christmas markets will be reinforced with immediate effect.”

(Reporting by John Irish, editing by G Crosse)

Poland And Ukraine Blame Nazi (German) Russian Pact As Reason For WW 2

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

UKRAINE AND POLAND POINT TO SOVIET CULPABILITY FOR WWII

Both countries’ parliaments voted to consider the Soviet-Nazi pact as the reason for the war.

 Ukraine and Poland’s parliaments have approved a resolution, considering moves by both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as the reason for the start of World War II.

The resolution, called the Declaration of Remembrance and Solidarity, states that the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany was what led to the two militaries invading Poland and then the Baltics.

“We point to the fact that the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, signed August 23, 1939, struck between the two totalitarian regimes—the Communist Soviet Union and Nazi Germany—led to the ignition of World War II, prompted by German aggression, which the Soviet Union adopted on 17 September,” the document reads.

Russian reenactorsPeople dressed in Red Army uniforms wave Russian and Soviet flags during celebrations to mark Victory Day, at the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park in Berlin, Germany, May 9, 2015. In Russia, the Soviet campaign against Nazi Germany is a pact of much pride, but its neighbors also remember Moscow’s initial pact with Berlin.FABRIZIO BENSCH/REUTERS

The German invasion of Poland caused Warsaw’s Western allies to formally declare war on Germany, with little practical support for Poland. When Polish forces retreated to the southeast they found themselves in a pincer, as the Soviet Union unexpectedly entered eastern Poland, effectively splitting the country’s territory between Berlin and Moscow’s control.

The document also blames “the weakness of the international reaction to the escalation in totalitarian and chauvinistic ideologies ahead of World War II” as being what “encouraged the Communist and Nazi regimes”.

The declaration was approved with 367 votes for in Poland’s 460-seat lower house of parliament and 243 votes for in Ukraine’s 450-seat parliament.

The resolution is symbolically significant in Ukraine, as it not only highlights Moscow’s once-secret pact with the Nazis, but also refers to World War II in the Western style, as opposed to “the Great Fatherland War,” which is the name used by Russia and its allies.

According to Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, the document has modern significance because of the Russian-backed insurgency in east Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.

“The aggressor that unleashed the war on our lands in 1939 is currently attacking Ukraine,” he said after the vote. He later wrote on his Facebook page that his own family, who lived in Poland at the start of World War II, were persecuted by Soviets and helped by Poles.

The declaration has caused a stir in Moscow, where the the Soviet Union’s early deal with the Nazis is still seldom mentioned, though the ultimate Soviet triumph over Nazi Germany is a sense of great national pride.

Russia’s Modern History Museum called the declaration a “blatant, blasphemous campaign, which aims to rebrand memory of history.”

The museum’s director noted that the Soviet Union’s Red Army was instrumental in pushing the Nazis back from eastern Europe and said Western allies also struck a peace deal with the Nazi regime first, during the Nazi incursion into Czechoslovakia. However, she failed to mention that, unlike the pact with Moscow, the Western accord was never a secret and also involved no agreement to part Czechoslovak territory among Western states, as Moscow did with Poland.

The declaration prompted some criticism in Poland among the 44 lawmakers that voted against it as it contained to mention of the Volyn massacre , Polish news magazine Rzeczpospolita reports. The killing of as many as 60,000 Polish civilians between 1943 and 1945 by Ukrainian nationalist groups is one of the biggest historical sticking points between Ukraine and Poland. Some 20,000 Ukrainians were killed in revenge attacks.

Lithuania was also set to vote on the resolution, alongside Poland and Ukrainian. However, this vote will likely be carried out in December.

Syrian Refugee “Bomber” Suspect Hangs Himself In German Jail

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN NEWS NETWORK)

Syrian refugee in Germany ‘attack plan’ kills himself in custody

Reports: German terror suspect commits suicide

Story highlights

  • Investigators believe Albakr was planning an attack on Berlin airport
  • Two Syrians tied Albakr to a sofa and alerted police to his whereabouts

Berlin (CNN)A Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bomb attack “with Islamist motives” on a Berlin airport has strangled himself to death with his shirt in detention, Saxony state justice officials said Thursday.

Investigators believe that 22-year-old Albakr, who arrived in Germany last year, was close to staging a terrorist attack. German police have said that Albakr’s “approach and behavior” suggest an ISIS link.

Albakr was arrested overnight Sunday after a manhunt that went for almost two days.

“On the evening of October the 12th, 2016, Jaber Albakr, the prime suspect in planning a serious attack against the state, took his life in the prison hospital of the Leipzig correctional facility,” the ministry said in a statement on its website, also confirming the news to CNN.
The Saxony Justice Minister Sebastian Gemkow told reporters that Albakr had strangled himself with his shirt but it was not immediately clear if he had hanged himself in his cell.
Gemkow said Albakr had been seen by a psychologist earlier in the day, but it was assessed that suicide was unlikely.
Authorities then decided to reduce its checks on him from every 30 minutes to every 15.
Albakr was on a hunger strike and refused to drink, Gemkow said, adding that authorities tried to resuscitate him for about half an hour after they found his body.

Police found around 1.5kg of explosive materials in a Chemnitz apartment.

There was no video surveillance of his cell in accordance with local law, Gemkow explained.
Germany’s Spiegel Online had earlier reported that Albakr had been under round-the-clock surveillance in police custody and was considered at risk of suicide.

Arrest attempt questioned

Albakr was arrested overnight Sunday after two Syrians tied the suspect to a sofa in their flat in Leipzig and alerted police. Crime office officials said that Albakr had befriended them at a train station in Leipzig and had asked to stay with them.
His hosts learned from social media that Albakr was wanted by authorities and contacted police to come to their apartment and detain him.
Albakr’s capture ended a manhunt that lasted almost two days, and the manner of his arrest has raised questions about whether police botched an attempt on Saturday to detain him. CNN was not able to immediately contact the police Thursday. The Saxony justice ministry is expected to give a press conference later Thursday.
In a raid on an apartment in the city of Chemnitz on Saturday , which appeared to be Albakr’s home, police discovered a mix of explosives weighing 1.5 kg that they described as more dangerous than TNT. The German prosecutor’s office said the mix could cause significant damage in small amounts.
Police carried out a controlled explosion to gain access to the apartment.
Among the materials found was what police suspected to be TATP, or acetone peroxide, which was used in recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, Saxony’s crime office said.

An earlier report on the police hunt for Albakr.

An earlier report on the police hunt for Albakr.

Markus Ulbig, Saxony state’s interior minister, said that Albakr had come to Germany as an asylum-seeker in February 2015. A year later, he formally asked for asylum, which was granted in June this year.
German Chancellor Merkel has come under intense political pressure for her open-door policy on refugees. German officials said the country welcomed more than 1 million refugees in 2015 alone, many of them Syrians fleeing the war in their country.
There have been several low-impact attacks in Germany this year carried out by refugees, prompting Merkel’s administration to tighten security measures.

German “Refugee” Making Bombs To Set Off At Berlin Airports Has Been Arrested

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

German spy chief says Syrian suspect targeted Berlin airports

The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV) said a Syrian suspect arrested on Monday was building a bomb and probably planned to attack one of the airports in Berlin.

Hans-Georg Maassen told public broadcaster ARD that intelligence leads had suggested in early September that militant group Islamic State (IS) was planning an attack on Germany’s transport infrastructure.

Spies managed to track down and identify the suspect in the eastern state of Saxony last Thursday and started a round-the-clock observation, Maassen said.

“We found out that he then bought hot glue in a discount shop on the following day. And then we immediately put all measures into place to start a raid because we assumed this can basically be the last missing chemical for him to build a bomb.”

Maassen told ARD that initial intelligence information pointed to an attack on trains in Germany but it later became clear that he planned to strike a Berlin airport.

Germany’s top public prosecutor, Peter Frank, confirmed that his office had taken over the investigations because of the severity of the charges.

“The danger is mainly characterized by the fact that he developed a very high explosive for which special expertise was needed, and he made it in a very large quantity,” he told ARD’s television news programme, Tagesthemen.

Investigators said earlier they found “some 1.5 kilograms (3 lb) of an extremely dangerous explosive” in the suspect’s apartment.

State police said the chemical was probably triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a highly unstable substance also used by suicide bombers during the Paris attack in November 2015.

German authorities said earlier on Monday that the suspect was probably inspired by IS and was readying an attack similar to those in Paris and Brussels.

Jaber Albakr, 22, arrived in Germany in February last year during a migrant influx into the country and was granted temporary asylum four months later. Officials said he had not previously aroused suspicion.

The suspect’s background will be unwelcome news for Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservatives have lost support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party over her refugee-friendly policy.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Catherine Evans and Sandra Maler)

Black And White Pictures Of Hitler And Mussolini In 1938 Found In Virginia

(This article is courtesy of the Daily Post News Letter)

Hitler came on our honeymoon! Unseen pictures of The Fuhrer on tour in Naples unearthed in long-lost black and white collection of family vacation photos found in a Virginia thrift store

  • Pictures of the infamous leader were found in rolls of an unidentified family’s holiday snaps from the 1930s
  • Photography enthusiast Matt Ames was shocked to find the historical images on the film he bought at a thrift store

Photography enthusiast Matt Ames was pleased to find some rolls of old film among the usual collection of discarded bric-a-brac lining the shelves of a backstreet thrift shore in Virginia.

But what Mr Ames didn’t realize was that he’d accidentally stumbled upon a piece of Europe’s wartime history – as captured by a young American couple who appeared to be on their honeymoon in Italy.

For among the 400 or so negatives on the 35 mm nitrate films, he was shocked to uncover previously unseen photos of Adolf Hitler touring Italy at the height of his powers.

The pictures were taken by a mystery photographer, who Mr. Ames believes may either have ended up living in the city of Roanoke, where the films were purchased, or New York, which is featured in many of the photos.

Among the scores of holiday snaps and family photos, the pictures – taken in the years before the Second World War – reveal the unknown photographer’s brush with the 20th century’s most infamous leaders.

In one of the forgotten photos, Hitler is pictured sitting next to King Emmanuel III of Italy during a parade in Naples in 1938 after the Fuhrer had viewed fellow fascist leader Benito Mussolini’s naval fleet in the Mediterranean.

Mr Ames, who has held an exhibition of the photos in Martinsville, Virginia, said: ‘In 2013 I found several rolls of negatives in a thrift store in Roanoke, Virginia. They were standard 35 mm, black and white and some of the rolls were clearly nitrate film.

‘Much to my surprise the film included photographs of Hitler and King Emmanuel on parade, other Nazi images from Naples, Italy in the Spring of 1938, numerous photos of Naples city life, Pompeii and photos of Manhattan.’

Pictures of Adolf Hitler - sitting on the left beside King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy - were uncovered on films found in a thrift store in Roanoke, Virginia by photography enthusiast Matt Ames

Pictures of Adolf Hitler – sitting on the left beside King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy – were uncovered on films found in a thrift store in Roanoke, Virginia by photography enthusiast Matt Ames

The roll of film also includes a picture of a woman, thought to be the photographer's wife or girlfriend

The unknown photographer (pictured) would have had little his idea of the carnage Hitler was about to unleash, or that his photos would later end up in a thrift

Mystery couple: The roll of vacation snaps also includes a picture of the photographer and a woman thought to be his wife. The man is thought to have worked for Mobil Oil

Hitler visited Italy in 1938 to meet with fellow Axis leader Benito Mussolini. The photos uncovered in Virginia are believed to show him after he viewed Italy's naval fleet

Hitler visited Italy in 1938 to meet with fellow Axis leader Benito Mussolini. The photos uncovered in Virginia are believed to show him after he viewed Italy’s naval fleet

Hitler (circled) is pictured receiving fascist salutes from Italian troops, who lined the seafront road in Naples for his visit

Hitler (circled) is pictured receiving fascist salutes from Italian troops, who lined the seafront road in Naples for his visit

The images show Hitler's cavalcade surrounded by motorcycle outriders as he is paraded along the streets of the southern Italian city

The images show Hitler’s cavalcade surrounded by motorcycle outriders as he is paraded along the streets of the southern Italian city

The pictures also appear to show young members of Mussolini's Gioventu Italiana del Littorio or GIL youth movement, which was similar to the Hitler Youth in Germany

The pictures also appear to show young members of Mussolini’s Gioventu Italian del Littorio or GIL youth movement, which was similar to the Hitler Youth in Germany

Hitler took a tour of Italy in 1938, and joined Mussolini and the king on board the battleship Conte di Cavour in Naples to watch military exercises

Hitler took a tour of Italy in 1938, and joined Mussolini and the king on board the battleship Conte di Cavour in Naples to watch military exercises

The photographer managed to capture a picture of the Italian fleet, which was amassed of the coast for the Fuhrer's visit

The photographer managed to capture a picture of the Italian fleet, which was amassed of the coast for the Fuhrer’s visit

The pictures also offer an insight into the fascist architecture being built in Italy at the time, with swastikas adorning a number of public monuments (above and below)

The pictures also offer an insight into the fascist architecture being built-in Italy at the time, with swastikas adorning a number of public monuments (above and below)

The pictures also offer an insight into the fascist architecture being built in Italy at the time, with swastika's adorning a number of public monuments

Hitler's visit to Naples was one of many meetings between the two leaders, pictured here ahead of the 1938 Munich conference. File Photo

Hitler’s visit to Naples was one of many meetings between the two leaders, pictured here ahead of the 1938 Munich conference. File Photo

The rolls of film were later bought by Matt Ames, who used newspaper cuttings to work out when they were taken

The rolls of film were later bought by Mat Ames, who used newspaper cuttings to work out when they were taken

The rolls of film were later bought by Matt Ames (pictured left with the films), who used newspaper cuttings to work out when they were taken

THE ‘MAD LITTLE CLOWN’ WHO SIGNED THE PACT OF STEEL – HITLER AND MUSSOLINI’S ROCKY RELATIONSHIP

Hitler and Mussolini

Mussolini’s fascist regime, which took control of Italy in 1925, was in many ways seen as a forerunner to Hitler’s own Nazi party.

Hitler is known to have admired the way Mussolini swept to power and wrote to him in 1923, the year after the Italian’s famous ‘March on Rome’ protests.

After Mussolini took control of Italy, he provided financial assistance to Hitler’s National Socialist movement and allowed the SS to train with his ‘Blackshirts’ brigades.

After taking power in Germany, Hitler backed Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1935 and the two countries’ forces lined up together with the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War.

But despite the diplomatic consensus, the pair’s first meeting in 1934 (pictured right) went badly, with Mussolini struggling to understand Hitler’s Austrian accent.

Hitler is believed to have felt upstaged by Mussolini’s elaborate uniform and the Italian is said to have found Hitler boring and described him as ‘a mad little clown’.

Despite the personal differences, the two leaders signed the so-called ‘Pact of Steel’ in 1939, agreeing military and economic cooperation.

Italy didn’t officially enter the Second World War until 1940 and after a disastrous campaign in North Africa, the Allies invaded Sicily in 1943, with Mussolini later expelled from power and executed. Berlin fell in 1945, with Hitler committing suicide in his military bunker.

The pictures also include some street scenes of 1930s Naples, including this one, showing a children's goat-drawn cart in a city square

The pictures also include some street scenes of 1930’s Naples, including this one, showing a children’s goat-drawn cart in a city square

The snaps show the photographers' interest in Italy's famous sportcars, including a photo of this vehicle, pictured on a seaside promenade

The snaps show the photographers’ interest in Italy’s famous sports cars, including a photo of this vehicle, pictured on a seaside promenade

The rolls of film also contain more usual holiday snaps from the photographer's visit, including shots of the Naples skyline at the time

The rolls of film also contain more usual holiday snaps from the photographer’s visit, including shots of the Naples skyline at the time

Mr Ames also found a series a photos of New York on the films, apparently taken from a boat rolling into the city's famous harbour

Mr Ames also found a series a photos of New York on the films, apparently taken from a boat rolling into the city’s famous harbor.

The pictures, which show a crowded boat about the dock in the US, suggest the man either visited Italy on a trip or moved to America from Europe ahead of the Second World War

The pictures, which show a crowded boat about the dock in the US, suggest the man either visited Italy on a trip or moved to America from Europe ahead of the Second World War

The photos, along with tales from Mr Ames' attempts to work out their origins, were made the subject of a recent exhibition at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia

The photos, along with tales from Mr Ames’ attempts to work out their origins, were made the subject of a recent exhibition at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia.

Mr Ames traced the location of the pictures by comparing this shot of Naples waterfront with modern-day pictures of the same location

Mr Ames traced the location of the pictures by comparing this shot of Naples waterfront with modern-day pictures of the same location

The photographer, seemingly a car enthusiast, also took photos of this Fiat garage and motorists filling their vehicles outside

The photographer, seemingly a car enthusiast, also took photos of this Fiat garage and motorists filling their vehicles outside.

Islamic Refugees Causing Crime Wave’s In German Towns

(This article is courtesy of the BBC)

Germany migrants: Residents battle asylum seekers in Bautzen

Refugees and asylum-seekers in Bautzen on 14 SeptImage copyrightAP
Image captionAsylum seekers (pictured) were accused of taking over the central square in Bautzen

Residents have clashed with asylum seekers in a town in eastern Germany that has become a flash point for anti-refugee sentiment.

Some 80 locals, described by police as far-right, brawled with 20 young asylum seekers in Bautzen.

The asylum seekers were chased to their hostel and put under police guard.

The mayor said the town had to avoid becoming a playground for the far right. A curfew has been imposed on the young asylum seekers.

Anti-migrant tensions have been mounting in Bautzen this year.

Locals cheered when a building due to house migrants was set on fire in February.

The following month, President Joachim Gauck was verbally abused when he visited Bautzen to discuss the influx of refugees in Germany.

Bautzen and the nearby town of Niedergurig are home to four asylum shelters.

Bautzen is 60km (38 miles) east of Dresden, where the “anti-Islamisation” Pegida movement began.

Since the arrival last year of 1.1 million irregular migrants and refugees in Germany, some areas, particularly eastern states, have seen a rise in anti-migrant violence as well as support for the anti-Islam AfD party.

Germany’s federal police force says there have been 700 attacks on asylum accommodation this year, including 57 arson attacks.

An 18-year-old Moroccan showed reporters on Thursday the injuries he received during the violence (15 Sept)Image copyrightEPA
Image captionAn 18-year-old Moroccan showed reporters on Thursday the injuries he received during the violence

A region with a far-right reputation: analysis by Damien McGuinness, BBC News Berlin

Each fresh outbreak of refugee-related violence is potentially a political problem for Chancellor Angela Merkel. Some voters say large-scale migration could destabilize German society.

As a result the chancellor’s conservative coalition has been haemorrhaging voters to the insurgent anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. That’s a particular worry given that this weekend voters in Berlin region go to the polls, and next year Mrs Merkel’s national government faces re-election.

But many Germans from other parts of Germany are more likely to blame the clashes on racist sentiment, rather than see it as a product of the chancellor’s welcoming stance on refugees.

That is because this beautiful area of ex-communist eastern Germany already has a rather ugly reputation for neo-Nazi support and right-wing extremist violence.


map

Wednesday’s outbreak of violence in Bautzen was a dramatic escalation after days of tension in the town.

The clashes appeared to be triggered by an incident the previous evening, when a 32-year-old resident was hurt by a bottle being thrown.

On Wednesday night a group of some 80 people, described by police as right-wingers, shouted slogans at up to 20 young asylum seekers, accusing them of taking over the central Kornmarkt shopping center.

Tensions escalated, fueled by alcohol, and scuffles broke out.

Police said they tried to separate the groups and asked them to leave. Then the asylum seekers – all thought to have come to Germany as unaccompanied minors – hurled bottles and wooden sticks at the police, who responded with pepper spray and batons.

When they did disperse, they were pursued by the locals to a nearby asylum center.

An ambulance crew was caught up in the clashes when far-right residents hurled stones at their vehicle as they tried to take an 18-year-old Moroccan asylum seeker to hospital for treatment.

“It wasn’t anarchy, but there was at least a chaotic phase that I would say lasted between 45 and 90 minutes,” said police chief Uwe Kilz.

Local mayor Alexander Ahrens said he would not tolerate the violence. “It cannot be that Bautzen turns into a playground for right-wingers spoiling for a fight”.

The young asylum seekers will now face an alcohol ban and a 19:00 curfew.

Reality Is: Honesty Or Truthfulness Is Not Tolerated Concerning Islam

(This article is courtesy of the Times of Israel)

After 4 years, Turkish pianist cleared of insulting Islam

A Turkish court has acquitted world-renowned pianist Fazil Say of blasphemy on Wednesday, four years after he first went on trial on charges of insulting Islam in a case that raised alarm about freedom of expression in Turkey.

The Istanbul court ruling ends a long-running legal saga which began in October 2012 when Say went on trial on charges “insulting religious beliefs” in a series of Twitter posts.

In a hugely convoluted process, the Turkish classical star was initially handed a 10-month jail sentence in 2013 before a retrial was ordered the same year in which he received an identical sentence.

Turkish pianist Fazil Say, center, stands during a performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2009 (photo credit: AP/Virginia Mayo)

Turkish pianist Fazil Say, center, stands during a performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2009 (photo credit: AP/Virginia Mayo)

But the Supreme Court of Appeal in October 2015 overturned the sentence, sending it back to a lower court for a final ruling.

And the Istanbul court on Wednesday supported the appeal court decision to overturn the sentence against Say and ruled he should be acquitted, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Say, 45, has played with orchestras across the world including in Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Israel and regularly gives sold-out solo recitals that often mix Mozart with Turkish traditional sounds.

The charismatic pianist — who is also a renowned composer — was prosecuted for Twitter posts in 2012 that allegedly attacked Muslims.

One of which was a re-tweet which said: “I am not sure if you have also realized it, but all the pricks, low-lives, buffoons, thieves, jesters, they are all Allahists. Is this a paradox?”

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