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Munich gunman was ‘obsessed’ with killers

A woman mourns at an underground station near the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum shopping centre in Munich on Saturday, a day after an 18-year-old man killed several people.

A woman mourns at an underground station near the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum shopping centre in Munich on Saturday, a day after an 18-year-old man killed several people.  

The teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was “obsessed” with mass killers like Norwegian Right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State (IS) group, police said Saturday.

Europe reacted in shock to the third attack on the continent in just over a week, after 18-year-old David Ali Sonboly went on a shooting spree at a shopping centre on Friday in what appears to have been a premeditated attack, before turning the gun on himself.

Officials said Sonboly, a German-Iranian student, had a history of mental illness.

Lured victims to store

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the teenager had likely hacked a girl’s Facebook account and used it to lure victims to the McDonald’s outlet where he began his rampage. “There is absolutely no link to the Islamic State,” Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae said, with prosecutors describing the assault as a “classic act by a deranged person”.

Investigators see an “obvious link” between Friday’s killings and Breivik’s massacre of 77 people in Norway exactly five years earlier, Mr. Andrae added.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her first reaction to the carnage, said Munich had suffered a “night of horror”.

Most of the victims in Friday’s attack were young people, with three aged just 14, police said. Munich prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch said Sonboly had suffered depression, but voiced caution over reports he may have undergone psychiatric treatment.

The teenager had 300 rounds of ammunition in a rucksack when he targeted the busy Olympia shopping mall, just minutes away from the flat he shared with his family, according to authorities. Police are investigating how he managed to obtain his weapon, a 9mm Glock pistol with a defaced serial number.

Neighbours said Sonboly was born to Iranian parents, a taxi driver father and a mother who worked at a department store.

They arrived in Germany as asylum seekers in the late 1990s.

Of Shia Muslim origin, Sonboly appears to have converted to Christianity, hence his first name David.

U.S. President Barack Obama voiced staunch support for Washington’s close ally Germany, while EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “Europe stands united.”

Europe has been on high alert for terrorism after a string of attacks in neighbouring France and Belgium claimed by IS.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 9:44:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Munich-gunman-was-%E2%80%98obsessed%E2%80%99-with-killers/article14504909.ece

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