Police Arrest Algerian Man Who Threatened to Blow Up Bremen Shopping Mall
German police have detained the Algerian man who had escaped from a psychiatric facility in Lower Saxony and was threatening to blow up a shopping mall, N-TV reports.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The man was arrested at the main station in Bremen late on Wednesday, police said as cited by N-TV. He was reportedly intending to catch a train to the town of Syke, located south of Bremen.The shopping mall in the German northwestern city of Bremen was evacuated on Wednesday after the 19-year-old entered it with a large backpack and yelled “I’ll blow you up.” No explosives were found at the mall, according to police.
Police said that the Algerian man had made statements sympathizing with the Munich gunman and extremists of the Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh) terrorist group, banned in a range of states. The comments were reportedly made while the man was in custody last weekend for multiple thefts.
However, police said that they did not have any evidence proving that the man had ties to Daesh.
The man was put into psychiatric care at a facility in Diepholz, Lower Saxony, after he tried to hurt himself. Police were informed of his disappearance from the psychiatric hospital on Wednesday morning.
A wave of attacks has occurred in southern Germany in the past several days. On Sunday, an asylum-seeker from Syria blew himself up near an open-air music festival in Ansbach, a city in the state of Bavaria. He was earlier allegedly denied asylum application. The same day, another Syrian refugee killed a female colleague with a machete in the city of Reutlingen, near Stuttgart.
These attacks happened in the same week as the July 22 Munich mall shooting carried out by a German of Iranian origin, which left 9 killed, as well as a regional train axe attack carried out by an Afghan refugee, which injured 5.
The disturbing attack took place in the western German town of Iddenbueren on Sunday.
A local resident alerted the police after he heard a cry for help coming from the cemetery.
The victim, a 79-year-old boarder of a nursing home, was provided first aid before being transferred to a medical facility for treatment. She was released from the hospital on Tuesday.
The pensioner is known to visit the cemetery fairly regularly to mourn her long-dead sister, Bild reported.
The alleged perpetrator, who has been living in Germany since 2013, was charged with rape by the prosecution and placed into custody for the course of the investigation, the prosecutor’s office of Munster and police for the district of Steinfurt, where the town is located, said in a joint statement.
Before being arrested, the suspect was staying at a refugee shelter in the nearby town of Horstel. The assailant did not resist the police as they arrived at the scene early on Sunday morning. He faces up to 15 years behind bars if found guilty.
A wave of sexually-related offences in Germany has triggered immense public outrage and forced authorities to review existing anti-rape laws. The most notorious incident took place during this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne, where wide-scale sexual assaults took place.
In an effort to reduce the underreporting of rape crimes, Germany’s parliament introduced a new law on sexual offences earlier this month labeled “no means no,” under which victims will no longer be required to prove that they physically resisted the assailant, which was mandatory for rape charges to be brought against an assailant before. The old standard led to many offences not being reported, as victims had often been intimidated into the sexual contact.
“The change in the law will help increase the number of victims who choose to press charges, lower the number of criminal prosecutions that are shelved, and ensure sexual assaults are properly punished,” said Manuela Schwesig, Germany’s federal minister of family affairs, senior citizens, women and youth, in commenting on the law.
As the majority of the sexual attacks committed in Cologne were linked to men from North Africa and the Middle East, the law put special emphasis on asylum seekers and migrants involved in sexual crimes. The legislation specifies that any sexually-related conviction could be a pretext for denying refugee status and also facilitate deportation.
More than 1.1 million refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, entered Germany last year. The unprecedented influx has boosted the popularity of right-wing parties and created tension within German society. According to a survey conducted by pollster GfK, 83 percent of Germans now consider immigration to be country’s biggest challenge – a staggering increase from last year’s figure of 35 percent.