Monday 23 October 2017

Munich killer (18) named as Ali Sonboly posed as a teenage girl on Facebook 'in bid to lure victims'

Police at the scene this morning, inset, the alleged gunman opening fire
Police at the scene this morning, inset, the alleged gunman opening fire

The 18-year-old German-Iranian man who opened fire in a crowded shopping mall and a nearby McDonald's,killing nine people and wounding 16 others before killing himself, has been named in reports as Ali Sonboly.

Posing as a teenage girl called 'Selina Akim', Sonboly is thought to have used messages posted on a fake Facebook account to lure young victims to their death with fraudulent offers of free food just hours before his murderous rampage began.

Police gave a "cautious all clear" early on Saturday morning, more than seven hours after the attack began, and brought much of the city to a standstill as all public transit systems were shut down amid a massive manhunt. They said a body found near the scene was that of the shooter and he appeared to have acted alone.

Read More: Munich shooting: German-Iranian gunman (18) 'lured children to McDonald's restaurant with free food Facebook advert' before deadly massacre claimed nine lives

Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae told a news conference the suspect was a dual citizen from Munich and his motive was still "fully unclear".

Mr Andrae said the suspect's body was found about 2 1/2 hours after the attack and was identified to be the shooter based on witness statements and closed circuit television footage of the attack. He was not previously known to police and there was no evidence of any links to terrorist organisations, Mr Andrae said.

Witnesses had reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall. However, the police chief said two people who fled the area quickly were investigated but had "nothing to do with the incident".

Mr Andrae said the nine fatalities included young people and children were among the 16 wounded, three of whom were in critical condition.

After gunfire broke out at the mall, one of Munich's largest, the city sent a smartphone alert declaring an "emergency situation" and telling people to stay indoors, while all rail, subway and tram services were halted in the city.

It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. The previous attacks, in the French resort city of Nice and on a train in Bavaria near the city of Wuerzburg, were claimed by the Islamic State group.

While police initially called the mall shooting an act of terrorism, they said they had "no indication" it involved Islamic extremism and at least one witness said he heard a shooter shout an anti-foreigner slur.

"The question of terrorism or a rampage is tied to motive and we don't know the motive," Mr Andrae said. "We can't question the suspect so this is all a little more difficult."

Mr Andrae said inquiries suggested the suspect had lived in the city for more than two years and is not thought to have been known to law enforcement agencies.

"As to the background or motive of the offence, it's totally unclear. The investigations will be running on all cylinders through the night," Mr Andrae said.

Germany has been on high alert after a teenage asylum seeker attacked people with an axe on a train on Monday, injuring five.

Three Albanians are believed to be among those killed by Sonboly

Armelea Segashi, Sabina Sulaj, Dijamant Zabërgja have been named by Gazeta Blic.

During the attack, Sonboly, whose mother works in German department store Karstadt and whose father is a taxi driver, complained that he had been bullied for seven years.

German commandos last night raided the fourth-floor apartment home Sonboly shared with his parents on Dachauer Strasse, in the Munich suburb of Maxvorstadt, just two miles from where he killed nine people and injured 21.

Three people remain in a critical condition.

Neighbours have described Sonboly as a ‘quiet guy’, who had apparently been living in Munich for at least two years.

His body was found roughly half a mile from the scene of yesterday’s shooting. He is understood to have shot himself after fleeing.

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