Germany: eight people killed in shootings near Frankfurt

A body is lying behind this car damaged by one of the two shootings in Hanau, on the evening of February 19, 2020. REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach

Text by: RFI Follow

Much uncertainty remains as to the perpetrators and the motives for the murders. The specter of the far right is rising, after several attacks and attempted attacks, as well as a phone call last Friday.


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A large police force has been deployed in this city, located about twenty kilometers from Frankfurt (Hesse), the authorities said in a statement.

The author (s) of these shootings allegedly targeted shisha bars according to local media. They are still at large overnight, said police, who " launched a large-scale manhunt ". An AFP journalist on the spot saw around thirty police cars leaving the Hanau police station and, according to witnesses, police officers with machine guns were deployed in the city.

A first shooting allegedly targeted a shisha bar in the heart of this city of approximately 90,000 inhabitants. According to the police, at least one person was seriously injured at this first site around 10 p.m. (9 p.m. UT). Witnesses, quoted by local media, reported hearing a dozen shots. The author (s) then left this first site by car in the direction of Kurt-Schumacher Platz, in the district of Kesselstadt, according to the police.

A second shooting then occurred, which left " at least five seriously injured " according to the authorities' initial assessment.

According to local media reports, three people were killed in front of the first hookah bar and five in front of the second.

Far-right terrorism?

Germany has been targeted in recent years by several jihadist attacks, one of which killed 12 people in the heart of Berlin in December 2016. But it is the threat of far-right terrorism that most worries the German authorities. , especially since the murder of a pro-migrant German elected member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party last June.

On Friday, 12 members of a far-right group were arrested as part of a massive counterterrorism investigation. They are believed to have planned large-scale attacks on Christchurch-style mosques. They were taken into custody.

The attacks were aimed at triggering " conditions close to civil war " and undermining social order, according to security sources quoted by the DPA agency. In October, a right-wing extremist Holocaust denier had attempted to carry out an attack in a synagogue in Halle, a massacre being only barely avoided. Unable to enter the religious building in which the faithful had barricaded themselves, he had shot a passerby and the client of a kebab restaurant, broadcasting his packages live on the internet. His trial is expected soon.

Eight neo-Nazis in Dresden, in the former GDR, have also been on trial for almost five months for planning attacks on foreigners and politicians.


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