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German Official: Islamist Motive Possibly Behind Ansbach Attack


Authorities said at least 12 people were wounded, three seriously, in the explosion

Bavaria's top police official says he believes that a Syrian asylum seeker who blew himself up and injured 12 people near a festival in the southern German town of Ansbach was driven by Islamic extremism.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann told the German news agency dpa on July 25 that "I unfortunately think it's very likely this really was an Islamist suicide attack."

"The obvious intention to kill more people indicates an Islamist connection," he added.

Police say the 27-year-old Syrian blew himself up near an open-air music festival late on July 24.

Hermann said the man was carrying a backpack filled with explosives and metal parts that could have killed many people.

The man, whose name has not been disclosed, had repeatedly received psychiatric treatment, including for attempted suicide, Herrmann said.

Earlier on July 25, the office of the Ansbach prosecutor said the attacker's motive wasn't clear.

"If there is an Islamist link or not is purely speculation at this point," said the spokesman, Michael Schrotberger.

Authorities said at least 12 people were wounded, three seriously, in the explosion.

Police evacuated more than 2,000 people from the music festival and cordoned off the area.

Germany is on edge following several recent incidents of violence.

Earlier on July 24 an asylum-seeker from Syria killed a woman with a machete and injured two other people in the southwestern city of Reutlingen before being arrested by police.

An 18-year-old German-Iranian shot dead nine people in Munich on July 22, and on July 18 a 17-year-old asylum-seeker from Pakistan wounded five people on a train using an ax and knife.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa

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