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Islamist shooter radicalized in Germany

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Islamist shooter radicalized in Germany
Photo: A Facebook screenshot from Frankfurter Rundschau.
16:21 CET+01:00
Arid Uka, the 21-year-old Kosovar who has admitted to killing two US airmen in Frankfurt, was a loner only recently turning to radical Islamist ideology, according to investigators.

German federal prosecutors continue to piece together a profile of the man responsible for what is increasingly believed to have been a terrorist attack on US military personnel at Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday.

Born in Kosovo but raised in Frankfurt, Uka is being described by investigators as a loner who took to radical Islam over the course of just a few weeks.

Armed with a Belgian Fabrique Nationale semi-automatic pistol and a large quantity of ammunition, the ethnic Albanian attacked a bus used to transport US military personnel outside the airport terminal. He shot dead one US airman in front of the bus before also killing the driver. Two other servicemen were seriously injured.

He then fled into the terminal building before being subdued and arrested. The man admitted early on during his interrogation that he wanted to kill US soldiers. Working at the airport's international postal centre, Uka knew his way around the facility, and likely observed the US military bus service beforehand.

Though his ultimate motive for the attack remains unknown and there were no indications he was part of a terrorist cell, it appears he had recently started calling himself a jihadist named “Abu Reyyan” on the social networking website Facebook.

Under his Islamist handle he spread jihadist hymns on YouTube online, professed hatred of Jews and Shiite Muslims and took part in violent computer games.

Within just four or five weeks, Uka is thought to have established contact to radical Islamist preachers including the Moroccan Sheik Abdellatif and German Muslim extremist Pierre Vogel.

Though his family are devout Muslims, they are not considered to be Islamist radicals.

Roland Desch, the head of the Verfassungsschutz domestic intelligence agency in the state of Hesse, said on Thursday it was still too early to call Arid U. a home-grown terrorist. But he admitted the incident was likely proof how quickly individuals can be radicalized.

“This is an attack that came from nowhere,” said Hessian Interior Minister Boris Rhein.

Investigators said that only trouble with his pistol jamming and his quick apprehension by two federal police officers and a US serviceman hindered a larger bloodbath.

The Local/DPA/mry

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