Frankfurt attack may be linked to Islamism: prosecutor

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 10:06 AM

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - The gunman who shot dead two U.S. airmen and wounded two others in a U.S. Army bus at Frankfurt airport on Wednesday may have been motivated by Islamism, German state prosecutors said on Thursday.

German and American authorities are urgently investigating whether further attacks on U.S. soldiers in Germany are planned, according to media reports.

"In the United States, there are even fears the man could be part of a terrorist cell and there is the threat of further attacks on U.S.-targets in Germany," Der Spiegel magazine wrote.

Police arrested the man, whom authorities have identified as a 21-year old Kosovo national, after the attack.

"There is suspicion that the killing may have been motivated by Islamism," prosecutors said in a statement.

Media said he shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) during the shooting.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he was outraged by the attack and the Kosovo government condemned the shooting. The Kosovo parliament held a minute of silence.

The United States has had troops in Kosovo since 1999, when a NATO bombing campaign pushed out Serbian forces. The U.S. troops there now are helping to oversee a fragile peace that has held since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

On Wednesday evening, people lit candles in Kosovo's capital Pristina and in the town of Mitrovica where the assailant is thought to be from. Kosovo newspapers said the attack had damaged the country's reputation.

The U.S. embassy in Pristina however said "the act of a single individual will in no way affect the deep and abiding friendship between our two countries."

The U.S. Army bus had been transporting a team based in Britain from the airport to the Ramstein base, the U.S. airforce said. The team had been on its way to Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Tilman Blasshofer and Maria Sheahan in Frankfurt, Sarah Marsh in Berlin, Fatos Bytyci in Pristina)