The 2016 Ansbach Bombing

Eugens Weinstube, where the explosion happened.
Eugens Weinstube, where the explosion happened.

On 24 July 2016, fifteen people were injured, four seriously, in a suicide bombing outside a wine bar in Ansbach, Germany. The bomber, identified as Mohammad Daleel, was a 27-year-old Syrian refugee who had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State. He was the only fatality in the incident.

The incident followed three other attacks in Germany within a week, including a machete attack that killed a pregnant woman in Reutlingen earlier in the day, a shooting that killed nine people in Munich several days earlier, and a train attack in Würzburg. All of these were committed by people of Middle Eastern or Pashtun background, all of whom, save for the Munich shooter, were refugees or asylum seekers that recently came to Germany.

The Ansbach bombing was the first suicide bombing in German history, while Cüneyt Çiftçi, the perpetrator of a 2008 suicide bombing in Afghanistan, who had previously lived in Ansbach, is considered the first suicide bomber to have been born and raised in Germany.

Event

At 22:12 CEST (20:12 UTC), a bomb exploded outside Eugene’s Wine Bar (German: Eugens Weinstube) in Ansbach, Germany and injured fifteen people, four seriously. The explosion occurred near the entrance to the Ansbach Open music festival with around 2,500 people in attendance. It was initially thought to have been caused by a gas leak. Daleel carried a backpack filled with screws, nails, and miscellaneous metal parts used in wood manufacturing and was denied entry into the music festival shortly before the blast, because he had no ticket. Thereafter, witnesses say, Daleel sat outside Eugene’s Wine Bar, leaned forward, and detonated an improvised explosive device. Emergency personnel approached Daleel after the blast in an attempt to resuscitate, but he was already dead.

Perpetrator

Mohammad Daleel was a 27-year-old Syrian refugee from Aleppo who had arrived in Germany in 2014 seeking asylum. He had been registered as a refugee first in Bulgaria, then later in Austria. Normal procedure in Germany did not allow Daleel to be deported to his home country due to the ongoing Syrian civil war. As he had been registered in Bulgaria, German officials and the local court in Ansbach rejected his first asylum request on 2 December 2014 and ordered his deportation to Bulgaria. He then attempted to commit suicide twice and was under psychiatric care. Due to Daleel’s mental health diagnosis, the deportation to Bulgaria was suspended. On 13 July 2016, a second deportation notice to Bulgaria was sent to Daleel.

Aftermath

The music festival was cancelled and the immediate vicinity in which the bombing occurred was evacuated.

The incident followed three other attacks in Germany within a week, including a machete attack that killed a pregnant woman in Reutlingen earlier in the day, a shooting that killed nine people in Munich several days earlier, and a train attack in Würzburg. All of these were committed by people of Middle Eastern or Pashtun background, all of whom, save for the Munich shooter, were refugees or asylum seekers that recently came to Germany.

Investigation

German authorities have found a video showing Daleel pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and intending to attack Germans on his phone. Multiple cell phones, SIM cards, a notebook, and six Facebook accounts with Islamist material that belonged to Daleel were also discovered and under investigation. Furthermore, inside the asylum accomodation in which the attacker lived, materials for bomb building were uncovered. Herrmann said that “it is unquestionable that it is a terror attack with corresponding Islamist convictions of the perpetrator.”

Less than an hour after media reported that the attacker had made a pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Amaq News Agency called him an Islamic State fighter who executed the operation in response to calls to target countries of the coalition that fights Islamic State.

Reactions

As a result of the recent attacks in Germany, the hashtag #Merkelsommer and phrase “Merkel summer” began to trend on Twitter on 25 July and appear in other social media. Experts believed that the recent attacks could create an anti-foreigner sentiment in the country, thus presenting criticism and pressure for Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany since 2005.

Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian interior minister, acknowledged that it was “a very terrible week, as I think it was for most of the people in Bavaria.” He said that German authorities would investigate ways to prevent abuse of the asylum system.

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