Two secondary-school students accused of carrying out a bomb attack on a gurdwara in the German city of Essen almost two weeks ago have admitted to being involved in the incident, claims a minister’s report, adding that the two radical Islamists are sympathisers of Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda terrorist outfits.
The two are charged with detonating a fire extinguisher filled with explosives at the entrance of Gurdwara Nanaksar Satsang Sabha on the evening of April 16. Before setting off the blast, the two 16-year-olds tried to break into the Sikh place of worship, North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) interior minister Ralf Jaeger has said in a report presented on Thursday to the home affairs committee of the state parliament in Duesseldorf. “They have admitted to carrying out the attack but denied that the motive was religious,” the report adds.
The boys are reported to have told their investigators that they did it “just for the kick of building fireworks”. The two from Essen and the neighbouring town of Gelsenkirchen are known to police as members of the radical Salafist sect of Islam, the report claims. It adds that during police interrogation in connection with his involvement in cases of causing grievous bodily harm and attempted burglary, he expressed his sympathy for the IS and al-Qaeda.
His accomplice has been participating in a special programme of the interior ministry for Salafists, who have a tendency to get involved in violence and are in danger of being drawn to IS and other terror organisations. He came under police radar attention after threatening a Jewish fellow-student and attempting to obtain firearms, the report has said.
They were arrested four days after an explosion at the entrance hall of the gurdwara hosting a wedding ceremony. Most of the wedding guests had left for nearby hall for a reception when the bomb got off. A gurdwara priest was injured seriously, while two others were treated for minor injuries. The gurdwara building was damaged severely.
Police tracked the two boys down on the basis of clues from a security-camera footage and moved them to preventive custody.