Sylt authorities suspect arson as fires continue

After fire fighters put out three new blazes overnight, police said Wednesday that they suspect arson in a rash of fires across the northern German island of Sylt.

Sylt authorities suspect arson as fires continue
Fire fighters inspect damages on Monday morning. Photo: DPA

The fires broke out around 10 pm Tuesday night in a garden house, carport and cellar, all within a space of 500 metres, a police spokesperson said.

“The cause remains unclear. We can’t rule out arson, though – that’s kind of what it looks like,” he said.

While the latest fires caused no significant property damage or bodily harm, several fires on Sunday night left four people injured and caused millions of euros in damage.

That night, all 10 of the North Sea island’s fire brigades were called out to quell flames at numerous locations. Among the worst hit were an adult education centre in Klappholttal, which burned to the ground, and a hotel in Wenningstedt, which had to be evacuated. Some 300 people were forced to spend the night at the island’s airport.

Meanwhile, two burning buildings in a nature preserve area and several smoking trash dumpsters also kept fire fighters busy.

Initial reports said that some of the fires may have been caused by lightning from severe thunderstorms that night, but police soon said arson might also have been a factor.

Thirty officials are now searching for arson suspects.

“We assume the perpetrator will be scared off by this,” the police spokesman said.

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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.