Merkel initially won plaudits for her sympathetic response to the European migrant crisis, when she declared Germany’s doors open to Syrian refugees. However, the latest terror alerts — not all related to migrants — have led to a climate of fear and growing anger that she has lost control of the security of the nation.
The populist right-wing party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), has seen a huge rise in support as the “migrant” issue has become intertwined with the “terror” issue. There are fears that Merkel’s CDU/CSU party will do badly in state elections in September, in Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Lower Saxony.
She has yet to decide whether to stand for another term in the 2017 federal election, but the latest terror attacks and the migrant crisis are threatening to overshadow her campaign.
Germany has been rocked by a series of terror attacks. In the latest, a 27-year-old Syrian man, who was denied asylum in Germany a year ago, blew himself up on June 24 outside a music festival in Ansbach, southern Germany, injuring 12 people in the country’s fourth violent attack on members of the public in less than a week. He left behind a video pledging allegiance to Daesh (also known as ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Also on June 24, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee was arrested after killing a pregnant woman and wounding two people with a machete in the southwestern city of Reutlingen, near Stuttgart.
An 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman killed nine people in a shopping mall in Munich on June 22 injuring dozens more. The assailant, identified as Ali David Sonboly, was carrying more than 300 bullets in his backpack and pistol when he shot himself.
On June 18, a 17-year-old youth who had sought asylum in Germany was shot dead by police after wounding five people with an axe on a train near Wuerzburg, also in Bavaria. He was initially thought to be Afghan, but federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has since said he may have been from Pakistan.
Tags: Alternative for Germany (AfD); Angela Merkel; Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU); Daesh; Europe; German attacks; Germany; migrants; Munich; refugees; terrorism; terrorist attack