Two teenagers suspected of carrying out a bomb attack on a gurudwara in the German city of Essen wanted to cause maximum casualties by detonating the explosive inside but were unable to break into the Sikh temple, investigators said.
“It was a matter of great luck that a major catastrophe was averted,” a police spokesperson said.
An explosion ripped through the entrance hall of the Nanaksar Satsang Sabha Gurdwara on the evening of April 16, shortly after it hosted a wedding ceremony.
Most of around 200 wedding guests, including children, had left the gurudwara to attend a reception in a nearby hall when the bomb went off.
A 60-year-old suffered serious injuries and had to be hospitalised while two 47- and 56-year-old men had minor injuries. The injured included the ‘granthi’ (priest) on whom the whole pane of glass had fallen due to the impact.
New information about the attack, given by the North Rhine Westphalia interior ministry on Thursday, showed that the 16-year-old secondary school students Mohammed B and Yussuf T wanted to detonate their self-made bomb, a fire extinguisher filled with explosives, inside the gurudwara.
But they could not break into the gurudwara through the entrance door and set off the explosion at the entrance. The bomb was so powerful that the explosion caused severe damage to the building.
Mohammed B had presented himself as “Kuffr killer” (killer of infidels) on his Facebook profile in November last year and posted jihadi symbols, regional newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported.
The newspaper said it had, on November 27, reported about Mohammed B’s intention to kill “non-believers believers” and carried on its website screenshots of his Facebook profile.
Mohammed B had also glorified the terror attacks in Paris on November 13 and derided its 130 victims on his updated Facebook profile, the report said.
The report said it has information that the two men had contacts to two mosques in the city.
Security authorities are alarmed by the terror attack and they are trying to establish if the two men are linked to a terror network, it said.
Immediately after the attack, Mohammed made contacted a 16-year-old Salafist in Wesel in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the report said.