An 18-year-old Iranian-German lured shoppers to a Munich mall Friday evening, where he shot to death nine victims, mostly teens, and wounded many more before killing himself.
Ali Sonboly, the terrorist whose rampage at a mall in Munich, Germany, left nine people dead, was a depression-plagued teenager who avidly read books and articles about mass killings and apparently tried to lure young victims to their deaths through a faked Facebook posting, authorities said Saturday.
Information from witnesses indicated that his hatred of foreigners might have played a role in the mass shooting, even though he himself was the German-born son of Iranian asylum-seekers.
Most of the dead were youths and all were Munich residents of varied ethnic backgrounds. Hueseyin Bayri, who witnessed one boy’s death, told The Associated Press the shooter screamed a profanity about foreigners and said “I will kill you all” as he pulled the trigger. A video shot showed him yelling anti-foreigner slurs.
Some reports indicate that witnesses said that the shooter screamed “I’m German” and “Allahu Akbar” before shooting at the teens with his illegal Glock 17 pistol. Others heard him say that he had been bullied for seven years. At least 21 people were taken to hospital and several are in critical condition.
There was no evidence that Sonboly was linked to any Islamic terror group, law enforcement officials told reporters, adding they believe he acted alone.
ISIS celebrates on social media
Islamic State terrorist supporters celebrated the attack on social media. A tweet on a pro-ISIS, Arabic-language account read, “Thank God, may God bring prosperity to our Islamic State men,” according to some reports. Another, also in Arabic, tweeted, “The Islamic state is expanding in Europe.”
Police told reporters that a search of the red backpack lying next to his black-clad corpse revealed that the shooter was carrying more than 300 rounds for the 9-millimeter handgun he used to kill his victims.
The filed-off serial numbers of the Glock made it difficult to establish its origin. But investigators said Sonboly had no permit to carry it.
One victim was 45, another 20, and the rest were between 14 and 19, Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae said. The fact that most of the dead were so young added to what Chancellor Angela Merkel called “an evening and night of horror.”
It started as a normal Friday evening. A Munich mall was buzzing with shoppers, and across the street, customers were enjoying a meal at a McDonald’s restaurant.
Earlier that day, the shooter hacked a Facebook account and sent a message inviting people to come to the mall for a giveaway, said Robert Heimberger, the head of Bavaria’s criminal police.
Police searching for motive
Investigators say they are still looking for a motive for the attack, but Munich prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch noted the gunman apparently was undergoing psychiatric treatment for problems including depression. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said authorities were checking reports the teen may have been bullied by his peers.
Witnesses and a dramatic cell-phone video that police think is genuine indicated the shooter was unstable and disliked foreigners. Law enforcement officials think the tragedy could have been a copy-cat attack, considering it was carried out on the fifth anniversary of the killing of 77 people by Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, whose victims included dozens of young people.
A search of the shooter’s home overnight revealed a trove of literature about mass killings, including a German-language translation of the English book, “Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.”
De Maiziere said the shooter had researched a 2009 school shooting in Germany as well as the Breivik attack. “There was material found in the apartment of the suspect that showed a particular interest in shooting sprees,” de Maiziere said.
‘So much terrible news in so few days’
Merkel called a special meeting Saturday of her government’s security Cabinet and pledged afterward that Germany would “do everything possible to protect the security and freedom of all people,” saying that in the wake of a train attack near Wuerzburg and the truck attack in Nice, France, she understood Germans are wondering where it could be safe.
“Such an evening and such a night is difficult to bear,” she said. “And it’s even more difficult to bear because we have had so much terrible news in so few days.”
“Israel stands alongside Germany on this sad day,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Saturday.
Some 2,300 police from across Germany and neighboring Austria were scrambled in response to the attack. It was the second targeting victims apparently at random in less than a week in Bavaria. On Monday, a 17-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker wounded five people in an ax-and-knife rampage near Wuerzburg, for which the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff