Angela Merkel may have some tough decisions ahead of her following brutal attack by an alleged Islamic radical


On Monday the 18th a 17-year-old Afghan refugee attacked train passengers with an axe and knife near the German city of Wüerzburg in Bavaria, injuring at least four, two critically, before he was shot and killed by police officers.

On Tuesday a hand-painted flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) was found in the attacker’s room, and shortly after the ISIL-linked Amaq news agency said that he was a ‘fighter’ for the group and had, ‘carried out the operation in answer to the calls to target the country’s coalition fighting the Islamic State’. They later released a video alleging to be of the train attacker saying that he is one of the group’s fighters and that he intends to carry out the attack in Germany. However, Bavarian state Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann says it is still too early to say whether he was actually a member of the group.

The interior ministry in Bavaria says that the attacker ‘came to Germany as an unaccompanied refugee‘ and had ‘been in the care of a welfare organisation’. Previously German Chancellor Angela Merkel has had a very open door policy for refugees, allowing more than a million refugees and migrants into Germany in 2015. However, on New Year’s Eve reports came that as many as 1,000 had been sexually assaulted — including being groped, robbed ans separated from their friends — at Cologne’s central train station, by allegedly North African or Arab-looking perpetrators. This incident incited riots by right-wing anti-immigration groups, and caused a dip in the public approval rating of Germany’s policy for asylum seekers. After this Merkel was forced to tighten the law on denying the right to asylum for those who have committed crimes, and to forcibly send back asylum seekers if they are on probation. In the past,  such people could only forcibly be sent back if they were sentenced to at least three years in prison.

Since January Merkel’s approval rating has rebounded, but Monday’s attack in Bavaria is likely to revive political tensions between the anti- and pro-immigration factions of the country. It is also likely to put more pressure on Merkel to tighten policies further.





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