Um, too late? Just saying.
Four attacks in a week – three of them carried out by asylum seekers – have left Germany on edge and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policies of welcoming refugees under renewed criticism.
Anxiety over Germany’s ability to cope with last year’s flood of more than 1 million registered asylum seekers first surged following a series of sexual assaults and robberies in Cologne during New Year celebrations.
But in the last seven days, the violence has become even more deadly.
The unprecedented bloodshed began July 18, when a 17-year-old from Afghanistan wielding an ax attacked people on a train near Wuerzburg, wounding five people before he was shot to death by police. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility.
On Sunday, a 21-year-old Syrian used a machete to kill a 45-year-old Polish woman in the southern city of Reutlingen. Authorities said assailant and victim knew each other from working in the same restaurant, and the incident was not related to terrorism.
Also Sunday, a 27-year-old Syrian who was denied asylum detonated a backpack of explosives and shrapnel at the entrance to an outdoor music festival in Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 15 people. ISIS claimed responsibility, and German security officials said a video on the attacker’s phone shows him pledging allegiance to the extremists.
The deadliest attack came Friday night in Munich. The German-born, 18-year-old son of Iranian asylum seekers went on a shooting spree and killed nine people. The youth had obsessively researched mass shootings, and authorities said the attack does not appear to be linked to Islamic extremists.
The violence followed an attack in the French Riviera by a Tunisian truck driver who plowed his vehicle into a Bastille Day crowd, killing 84 people in Nice.
Experts say the attacks are likely to inflame anti-foreigner sentiment in Germany, creating a challenge for Merkel’s government.
Merkel could now face increased calls for tighter border security and greater vetting of arrivals, even though the flow of migrants and asylum seekers has slowed drastically, said Florian Otto, an analyst with the risk consultants Verisk Maplecrof. The influx diminished after the European Union and Turkey agreed on a deal aimed at stopping people from reaching the continent by sea.
Still spin spin spinning. “Inflame an anti-foreigner sentiment.” Actually, it would be an anti-Islamist terrorist sentiment.