Obama offers support to Germany after spate of attacks

People mourning outside the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany, on July 27, 2016.
People mourning outside the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany, on July 27, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday (July 27) offered his condolences and US support to German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a spate of bloody attacks in her country, the White House said.

Four brutal assaults in Germany's south, three of which were carried out by asylum seekers, have rattled Germans and revived a backlash against Dr Merkel's decision last year to open the borders to those fleeing war and persecution.

Mr Obama expressed condolences "on behalf of the American people for the victims of recent terrorist and other violent attacks", according to a readout of the call from the White House.

"The leaders reaffirmed the necessity of close US-German counter terrorism and broader security cooperation," it said.

On Sunday, a failed Syrian asylum seeker set off an explosive device near an open-air music festival in the southern city of Ansbach that killed himself and wounded a dozen others. The man had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the Bavarian interior minister.

On the same day, a Syrian refugee was arrested after killing a Polish woman in the south-western city of Reutlingen in what was likely a crime of passion. Three other people were also injured in the assault.

Those attacks came as Germany was already reeling from a rampage in which nine people were killed in a shopping centre shooting spree in Munich on Friday.

Meanwhile, four passengers on a train and a passer-by were wounded in an axe attack in Wuerzburg on July 18, in a rampage claimed by the ISIS group.

Mr Obama offered Germany "full support as the investigations into the attacks proceed".