German authorities have confirmed that nine of the 11 dead after the far-right, racist attack on a sheesha bar in Germany are from immigrant communities including five Turks and a pregnant woman.
Also amongst the dead are a Bosnian, a Bulgarian and a Romanian citizen.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was signs the 43-year-old attacker acted out of racism: “The background to these terrible murders will be investigated down to the last detail. But there is a lot of evidence that suggests the perpetrator acted out of far-right extremist and racist motives, out of hatred for people with different background, a different religion and different looks.”
“Racism is a poison. Hate is a poison and this poison exists in our society and is already to blame for many crimes.”
Tens of thousands of people joined vigils for the nine victims.
On Wednesday Tobias Rathjen, a German citizen, entered two shisha bars in Germany’s Hanau, and opened fire on the customers, known to be from a range of immigrant communities.
His body and the body of his 72-year-old mother were later found in his flat along with a letter in which he claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Rathjen uploaded a 24-page manifesto in which he calls for the elimination of Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Iran, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Philippines, according to the Financial Times.
“This would only be the rough cleansing, It would be followed by the fine cleansing. I would eliminate all these people, even if we are speaking about billions of people. It has to be done.”
Analysts have criticised Germany’s intelligence service for failing to crack down on far-right and neo-Nazi groups.
Germany’s Muslim association KRM has consistently called on the government to do more about Islamophobia.
Germany has become polarised since Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the country to refugees in 2015. Some one million people, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have sought refuge in the country fueling an upsurge in anti-immigrant sentiment and support for the far-right.
On New Year’s Day 2019 a 50-year-old German man drove his car into foreigners in Bottrop and Essen. Eight people were injured including a Syrian family and their ten-year-old daughter.
Two months later a man punched two Syrian 15- and 16-year-olds in northeast Berlin and hours later a woman tried to rip the headscarf off a 12-year-old girl in Neukölln.
A Syrian refugee who survived an arson attack on his home in Magdeburg filed a complaint in August last year against the German police for failing to consider the far-right, xenophobic motives for the attack and instead treating him as a suspect.