SPOTLIGHT: TERROR REACHES GERMANY
Though Germany has been at the center of Europe's debate over refugees, it had largely been spared the kind of terrorist attacks that have struck neighboring France.
But now, in the span of just a few days, Germany suddenly finds itself struggling to make sense of a string of violent attacks — three of them involving asylum seekers — in various southern cities. (Here's this morning's front page of Berlin-based Die Tageszeitung)
The latest took place late last night in Ansbach, where a Syrian man blew himself up, wounding a dozen people outside a restaurant. The suicide bomber, 27, had reportedly tried to enter a nearby music festival, but was turned away for not having a ticket. "It's terrible ... that someone who came into our country to seek shelter has now committed such a heinous act," Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told reporters.
Earlier in the day, another Syrian refugee, 21, used a machete to attack and kill a Polish woman near Stuttgart, similar to an axe attack last week on a train near Würzburg, by a 17-year-old Afghan man.
The highest toll came late Friday afternoon when a teenage gunman went on a shooting rampage in a Munich shopping center, killing nine before turning the gun on himself. That attack had no links to any terrorist group, and appeared more inspired by U.S.-style mass shootings.
Still, the spree of attacks appears to have gotten at least inspiration from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) and other radical Islamist groups. After Sunday night's attack, whose perpetrator was reportedly set to be deported, Herrmann said: "We must do everything possible to prevent the spread of such violence in our country by people who came here to ask for asylum." A true test for a healthy democracy like Germany is to remember that immigration and terrorism are two fundamentally different issues, even if they are bound to sometimes cross paths in the public debate, and in our lives.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY