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6 Men Were Plotting Attack on Berlin Half-Marathon, Police Say

April 7, 2018

Last month, a 26-year-old Palestinian asylum seeker was sentenced to life in prison for murdering one man and wounding six other people with a knife in a Hamburg supermarket in July, in what the court called an Islamist attack.

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Members of the opposition party Alternative for Germany have charged that the country’s security situation has worsened since Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed roughly one million people to enter Germany unscreened and apply for asylum. Since then the country has seen a series of attacks by Islamist extremists, as well as a rise of radical groups on the far-right.

Earlier Sunday, federal prosecutors ordered the police to search the homes of eight people in Berlin and the eastern states of Brandenburg and Thuringia on suspicion of founding a far-right terrorist group and illegal possession of weapons. No arrests were made, and the move was not linked to Saturday’s truck attack, said Frauke Köhler, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor.

Investigators searching for a motive behind Saturday’s attack — which left more than 20 people injured, many of them severely — said the man had a history of psychological troubles and appeared to have acted on his own. An email he wrote last month indicated suicidal thoughts but “no indication of a desire to harm others,” the police in Münster said in a statement.

“So far we still do not have any indications that the attacker had a political motive or that any accomplices were involved,” the Münster police chief, Hajo Kuhlisch, said on Sunday. “But we do have evidence that points to the attack having been carried out for personal reasons.”

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