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Over 2 in 3 Germans don't blame Merkel for terror attacks

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Over 2 in 3 Germans don't blame Merkel for terror attacks
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA
15:10 CEST+02:00
Since two violent attacks in Bavaria by Islamist fanatics Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under pressure for her open-door refugee policy. But most Germans see things differently.

A survey conducted by Forsa research group for Stern magazine and published on Wednesday showed that 69 percent of Germans do not agree that Merkel's refugee policies had caused attacks in Würzburg and Ansbach last month.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said that they did hold Merkel directly responsible for the attacks.

On July 18th, a 17-year-old Afghan refugee attacked a family from Hong Kong on a regional train near Würzburg with an axe before fleeing the train and being shot dead by police.

Investigators later found a homemade Isis flag in his bedroom and believe the attack to be Islamist motivated.

The following Sunday, a 27-year-old from Syrian blew himself up in nearby Ansbach when he detonated a bomb outside a bar.

In a video found by prosecutors, he also pledged allegiance to terror group Isis.

Both refugees had arrived before the German government temporarily suspended the Dublin regulations for asylum seekers from Syria last autumn, leading to hundreds of thousands of new migrants arriving in the Bundesrepublik.

Merkel has come under fire even from ally Horst Seehofer, the head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) after she reaffirmed her mantra of “wir schaffen das” (we can do this) in response to the attacks.

Seehofer responded by saying "with the best will, I cannot make it [the mantra] mine. The situation is too problematic."

The survey respondents most likely to agree that Merkel was responsible for the attacks were voters for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, 78 percent of whom felt Merkel was responsible. But this was the exception.

Even among CSU voters, 67 percent said that attacks could not be blamed on Merkel's refugee policies.

Exactly half of all respondents expressed doubt that the police and other security services are well enough equipped to provide the maximum possible security. Forty-six percent meanwhile felt the opposite.

After the truck rampage in Nice in which 84 people died, 42 percent of people expressed trust in German security services. Stern suggests that the rise in trust could be a response to how police were perceived to have handled a gunman who attacked a shopping centre in Munich at the end of last month.

Conservative politicians have proposed an array of measures to try and minimize the risk of further attacks, including the CSU's controversial suggestion of sending refugees convicted of crimes back to war zones.

A very large majority of respondents (89 percent) agreed that strengthening the country's police force is the number one priority in preventing further attacks.

Meanwhile 76 percent wanted to see deportations of failed asylum seekers being sped up, and 73 percent wanted to see stronger border controls. Seventy-two percent agreed that refugees should be sent back to war zones if they had committed a crime.

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