Wednesday 20 June 2018

German nationalist says sorry for blaming Munster attack on Islamic extremists

Beatrix von Storch said on her Facebook page: ‘I made a mistake with my tweet about Munster and I’m sorry.’

Beatrix von Storch said she should have waited 'until the facts were clear' (Markus Schreiber/AP)
Beatrix von Storch said she should have waited 'until the facts were clear' (Markus Schreiber/AP)

By David Rising, Associated Press

A deputy leader of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party has apologised for incorrectly blaming a fatal van attack in Munster on Islamic extremists, saying that she leapt to conclusions too quickly.

Beatrix von Storch said on her Facebook page: “I made a mistake with my tweet about Munster and I’m sorry.”

She added that she should have waited “until the facts were clear”.

“Like millions of Germans I assumed that it was an Islamic attack,” she said.

The apology came after widespread criticism, including from within her own party, of her tweet suggesting Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy was to blame after a man drove into a crowd on Saturday.

Two people were killed and many more injured.

When authorities revealed the van’s driver to be a German with no known extremist links, Ms von Storch initially doubled down, tweeting that the suspect was an “imitator of Islamist terror”.

The online reaction to the attack prompted German interior minister Horst Seehofer earlier this week to call for an end to the “mood of hate” on social media, saying that “society cannot accept that some abused this terrible event for their own perfidious purposes”.

Despite the apology, in her Facebook post Ms von Storch took one more swipe at the chancellor, saying “I don’t ever want to be like Angela Merkel, who doesn’t admit her mistakes”.

Party co-leader Alexander Gauland said Ms von Storch had made a mistake with her tweet, but that he accepted her apology.

“For me the matter is resolved,” he said.

Press Association

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