Munich gunman, son of Iranians, considered himself Aryan and saw sharing Hitler’s birthday as ‘special honour’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 9:56am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 10:09pm

German police investigating the mass shooting in Munich last Friday night in which nine people were killed have said the gunman was racist and a rightwing extremist who saw it as a “special honour” that he shared a birthday with Adolf Hitler.

Ali David Sonboly, 18, who was born in Munich to Iranian parents, boasted to friends that he was proud to be an “Aryan”, citing Iran as the land where Aryans originated and repeatedly stating his hatred of Turks and Arabs.

Investigators are examining whether Sonboly specifically targeted people of foreign origin when he apparently lured young people to McDonald’s via a Facebook page in which he offered them free food.

All his victims had a migrant background – three were of Turkish origin, three others were of Kosovan heritage.

Munich gunman Ali Sonboly ‘planned attack for more than a year’

Sonboly boasted of having the same birthday as Hitler, 20 April, saying it was an “accolade”, those close to him told police, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

On Wednesday, police announced they had arrested a 15-year-old boy who they believe was in online contact with Sonboly and who admitted that he had planned to carry out a shooting rampage.

Prosecutors and police in Ludwigsburg say the boy was arrested on Monday night and sent to a psychiatric facility. Bullets, knives, escape plans for his school, chemicals and bomb-making instructions were found at his home.

When questioned by police, the boy admitted that he had been contemplating carrying out a mass shooting, as he had had problems at school and was being bullied. However, he told police he had since abandoned his plans.

Why kids kill: young shooters tend to research murderous role models

The fact that he had been in contact with Sonboly set alarm bells ringing about the extent to which would-be mass shooters are colluding with, and being inspired by, each other. Sonboly is known to have been inspired by the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. He also visited the site in Winnenden, South East Germany, where Tim Kretschmer killed 15 people at his school in 2009.

The details emerged as Germany sought to come to terms with a week of bloodshed, including an axe attack on a train in which four Hong Kong people were injured, a machete attack in which a pregnant woman was murdered, and a suicide bomb in Ansbach which 12 people were injured.

Investigators of the attack in Ansbach in which 27-year-old Mohammad Daleel blew himself up outside a music festival on Sunday night said they believed the Syrian had likely been taking orders from someone and had spoken to them in the seconds before detonating his bomb.

Islamic State has claimed credit for the attack, though it has given no evidence that it had directed or known of Daleel before the explosion.

A psychological report compiled earlier this year and leaked to the tabloid Bild showed that Daleel was known to have suicidal tendencies and he was “to be believed” when he said he was planning “a spectacular suicide”.

The train attacker also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

On Wednesday, with the country on edge, fears of another attack were raised again when what initially appeared to be a bomb went off 200 metres from a refugee reception centre in Zirndorf near Nuremberg, southern Germany.

In Bremen, a large shopping centre was evacuated in the early evening after a 19-year-old Algerian, who had escaped from a psychiatric facility, was spotted acting suspiciously. Police searched the complex in the hope of finding the man and an object he had been carrying, possibly a rucksack or a bag. By late evening, the search remained inconclusive.