German police arrested a man on Feb. 24 in connection with a potential terrorist attack in Volksmaren. While police could not provide many details, they urged the public not to spread information that is not accurate. The suspect is a 29-year-old German citizen and was accused of intentionally ramming his car into a parade at a carnival, causing injuries. Several young children were among the dozens injured in the attack. The suspect was injured in the accident as well, and police had to postpone questioning him until he had been treated by paramedics.
Volksmaren has a population of around 7,000 people and is in Hesse, a central German state. Regional police spokesman Henning Hinn told the press that the Feb. 24 crash was intentional, adding that the suspect was being investigated for attempted homicide. “There were several dozen injured, among them some seriously and sadly also children,” Hinn said. Interior Minister of Hesse, Peter Beuth, told Al Jazeera that, of the 30 people injured in the crash, around 10 were children. “As far as I know, there are still no indications for the motive for the deed. This is also a subject of the investigations which are now being carried out with high pressure,” he said. Frankfurt police chief Gerhard Bereswill spoke to local news outlets, and according to his statements, although no one has died, seven of the victims are in serious condition.
Following the attack, all carnival processions were cancelled as a precautionary measure, although Hesse police stated that they did not have any reasons to believe that there were additional threats elsewhere. Even so, the cancellations were intended to protect the public from any further planned attacks.
The attack took place outside of a local supermarket on one of Volksmaren’s main streets, and footage from a video camera showed a silver Mercedes station wagon with its hazard lights blinking as emergency personnel walked by. The car also had local license plates. The carnival going on at the time of the incident is a popular attraction in Germany, especially in the Rhineland cities of Dusseldorf and Cologne; the festivals peaked in attendance on Rose Monday (Feb. 24). Tens of thousands of people flooded parades and events that featured satirical and comedic floats.
The Rose Monday attack followed less than a week after a far-right domestic terrorist gunned down nine people in Hannau, a city that is also in Hesse. The incident sent panic through Europe, and Hesse had little time to recover when then Feb. 24 attack occurred.
While there is no concrete evidence that the suspect being investigated for attempted homicide in the Volksmaren crash is affiliated with far-right terrorist efforts, there have been a number of people speculating that this may be the case.
Given the recent spike in far-right domestic terrorism across Europe, citizens are beginning to feel fear. While some member nations of the European Union have made rulings on dealing with terrorism and those convicted of terrorism, not all states have recognized domestic terror incidents as a legitimate issue, which is a dangerous mentality both for citizens of the member states and the European community as a whole.
While it is understandable that a nation may not want to amplify incidents of domestic terrorism due to the impact it may have on tourism and the economy, and the need for both citizens and tourists to feel secure, the European Union must enact a solid legislative plan and set of expectations of member states in order to confront the widespread terrorist incidents. If they are not addressed in a timely manner, they are likely to increase in number.
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