World, Europe

European leaders 'shocked' by mass shooting in Germany

German far-right extremist killed at least 9 people Wednesday night, 5 of them Turkish nationals, in town near Frankfurt

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak   | 20.02.2020
European leaders 'shocked' by mass shooting in Germany


European leaders voiced shock and horror after Wednesday night's far-right terror attack in Germany which killed nine people and is officially being treated as a terrorist attack with xenophobic motives.

Five Turkish nationals are among the attack's victims, Turkey’s ambassador to Germany confirmed Thursday.

"An immense sadness and my full support for Germany in the face of this tragic attack,” said French President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter.

"Our thoughts are with the victims and grieving families. I stand with Chancellor Merkel in this fight for our values and the protection of our democracies," he added.

"My thoughts are with the people of Germany as they grieve those lost in the terrible attack in Hanau last night. The U.K. stands with our German friends against this racist assault on our values,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter, referring to the town near Frankfurt where the attack took place.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he is "shaken" by the attack and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. 

"I express all my solidarity with the German people and the families of the victims of a mad hatred that has no respect for human life," he wrote on Twitter. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed solidarity with the German people and the families of the victims of terrorist attack.

"We stand firm against hate and xenophobia. Let's work together in the defense of European values, coexistence and respect for diversity," he said. 

"My thoughts are with Hanau, where a terrible crime was committed, in this difficult time. My sincere sympathy goes to the relatives and friends of the victims," said Sebastian Kurz, Austria's chancellor, on Twitter.

The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte also expressed solidarity with Germany after the terrorist attack and said "there is no place for extremism in Europe."

Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics also took to Twitter and expressed his condolences to Germany and the people affected by the attack.

Estonia’s Foreign Ministry also tweeted: "Shocked by the news about racially motivated shooting in Hanau, Germany. Our deepest condolences to everyone who lost loved ones in this horrible act."

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak was "shocked by the horrifying events" in Hanau. "Racism and hate must have no place in our societies," he said on Twitter.

EU, NATO leaders

"I am deeply shocked by the tragedy that took place last night," Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, wrote on Twitter early Thursday.

"My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims, to whom I want to extend my sincerest condolences. We mourn with you today." 

"The senseless loss of life is a tragedy - no matter where it occurs," Charles Michel, president of the European Council, also wrote on Twitter.

"After the terrible attack, we are in thoughts with the people in Hanau. We extend our sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims," he said.

David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament, also shared his shock and sorrow over the attack, writing on Twitter: "We stand united against any form of hatred and violence."

"Appalled by the shootings in Hanau," tweeted NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. "My thoughts are with the loved ones of all the victims. We stand together with our Ally Germany against hatred & violence."

Thomas Greminger, secretary-general of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, urged for "a united stand against violence, hate & those who try to sow divisions in our societies."

A German far-right extremist killed at least nine people on Wednesday night in the western town of Hanau.

The perpetrator, who targeted migrants at two cafes, was identified by security forces as Tobias R., 43, German daily Bild reported.

He and one other person were found dead in an apartment in Hanau following a raid by a German special operations team.

Initial police findings showed that the perpetrator was acting with "xenophobic motives," Hesse's Interior Minister Peter Beuth told reporters on Thursday.

"The Federal Public Prosecutor has taken over the investigation. It is treating this as a suspected incident of a terrorist attack," he said.

* Cindi Cook in Paris, Firdevs Bulut in Ankara contributed to this report.

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