Two US airmen shot dead at German airport
Thursday 03 March 2011
A Kosovan gunman shot dead two US Air Force personnel and seriously wounded two others when he opened fire in a bus at Frankfurt airport yesterday – one of the most serious attacks on the American military in Germany in decades.
Police said the gunman, who was apparently armed with a pistol, stormed the military transport bus and opened fire at about 3pm. The driver had stopped to pick up arriving personnel outside the international airport.
The US Air Force bus driver and an airman were killed instantly. Two other airmen were said to have been seriously wounded in the attack. The gunman fled into the terminal building. Police gave chase and arrested him minutes later.
Police said the 21-year-old gunman had identified himself as a Kosovar Albanian during initial questioning, with unconfirmed reports naming him as Arif Uka, from Mitrovica. Officers said his motive for carrying out the attack was not immediately clear, although he appeared to have acted alone.
Boris Rhein, the Interior Minister for the state of Hesse, said it was unclear at this early stage if the "terrible, senseless crime" was linked to terrorism. Germany recently downgraded a nationwide terrorist alert, but warned that the threat of attacks by extremists remained.
The shooting happened only a few miles from the US Air Force European headquarters at Ramstein air base, which is a major military air hub used to ferry troops and equipment to and from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Eyewitnesses told German television that the US military bus was riddled with bullet holes, but was covered with sheets in the aftermath of the attack.
In Washington, President Barack Obama said he was "saddened and outraged" by the shooting, while Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press conference how upset she was.
A fortnight ago, the German government announced it was partially easing a nationwide terrorist alert and relaxing some of the tight security measures it first introduced last November due to fears of a Mumbai-style attack on Berlin's Reichstag parliament building.
Police were ordered to scale back their high-profile presence outside public buildings and at airports and railway stations, but Thomas de Maiziere, the German Interior Minister, insisted that the threat of terrorist incidents was still real.
Four Islamists of German background were convicted in March last year for plotting to bomb US military targets, including Ramstein Air Base.
The ministry said there were about 1,000 potential militants under the surveillance of the police and intelligence services.
About 130 were considered to be "dangerous" individuals capable of carrying out serious, politically motivated attacks. The government has primarily been concerned about the threat of al-Qa'ida attacks by fighters trained on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The possibility of attacks by Kosovar Albanians had not been cited as a concern.
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the Pyongyang marathon winner
Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...