26th July 2016
Situation Summary. The past few weeks, Germany has faced a series of terror attacks. On the 25th July 2016 a 27-year-old Syrian who had been rejected asylum set off a bomb reportedly containing metal fragments designed to maximise injuries. The blast from the improvised device, hidden in a backpack, killed the bomber and injured at least 12 people. The man reportedly tried to detonate the explosive twice, also trying to enter a music festival where about 2,500 people were gathered. After being denied entry to the event, the man blew himself up in front of a nearby restaurant. While the Islamic State has claimed that the individual was ‘one of their soldiers’ This remains unclear. The individual was reported to have tried to commit suicide and was due for deportation. In the aftermath of the attack, his mental health has been questioned.
On the 22nd July 2016, a lone gunman started shooting outside a McDonald’s at the Olympia Mall in Munich. At least 9 people were killed and a further 21 were wounded. Police had initially thought that there were three attackers (due to incorrect social media reporting), sparking a heavy police operation however only one attacker, a German-Iranian, was eventually confirmed. The individual was later found dead in a side street appearing to have committed suicide. The motives of the attack are unclear and no group has claimed responsibility. It is more likely that the individual had mental health issues than specific terror motives.
On 18th July 2016, 17-year-old of Afghan origin, armed with an axe and a knife, attacked train passengers in Wurzburg, central Germany, injuring several people, some critically. The suspect was shot dead by police while trying to escape the crime scene. The individual reportedly arrived in Germany in 2015 as a child refugee. Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack. It is likely though, that he was inspired by the terror group, rather than an active member directed by the Islamic State leadership.
Intrinsic Comment. More attacks are possible in cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt, and Cologne, where the situation with migrants is particularly tense. Germany has become home to hundreds of thousands of migrants in the past few years, encouraged by the country’s refugee-friendly policies. Since January this year, more than 200,000 migrants have arrived in the country. Four out of five did so without a passport. In 2015, more than 1.1 million asylum seekers came to Germany. Germany’s intelligence services have been warning of terrorists among the refugees coming into the country for months. However, recent attacks do not suggest that there has been a concerted and organised effort by any specific terror group to specifically target Germany, with recent attacks being inspired by Islamic State rather than directed by them (or with them taking the credit). While lone-wolf attacks appear to have become more common, they are difficult to predict or prevent. In the recent terror attacks in Germany, the death was largely limited by Germany’s professional security forces.
Munich – Practical Travel Advice. In the short term see below some practical travel advice:
General Security Advice – Mass Shootings Incidents. Mass shootings and “lone-wolf” attacks are increasingly common. It is advisable to be informed of sensible actions which can be undertaken to improve safety. If in a location where gunfire or explosions are heard, leave the area or building by any safe and available exit immediately. If unable to do so, find suitable cover or barricade yourself in a room. Inform emergency services or someone who is able to do it for you. Once police arrive, comply with their instructions and do not make any sudden movements.
Intrinsic Security Advice: Intrinsic does not suggest that increased security provisions are required for journeys to Germany. The recent terror attacks appear to be isolated, non-related incidents rather than signifying a new, dangerous trend.
RUN HIDE TELL Guidance – The United Kingdom Government currently advises those caught up in incidents of this nature to adopt the RUN HIDE TELL guidance. See full details at this Link.
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