Firebombing at German paper that ran Charlie Hebdo cartoons

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Berlin (AFP) – A German tabloid that reprinted cartoons from
the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo lampooning the Prophet Mohammed
was targeted in firebombing Sunday, police said.
A burned copy of a Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper is pictured among other documents in front of a building of German newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost in HamburgWith
security services on high alert after a killing spree in Paris by
Islamic extremists, police in the northern German port city of Hamburg
said no one was injured in the blaze at the headquarters of the regional
daily Hamburger Morgenpost, which caused only slight damage.

“Rocks and then a burning object were thrown through the window,” a police spokesman told AFP.

“Two rooms on lower floors were damaged but the fire was put out quickly.”

The
Hamburger Morgenpost, known locally as the MOPO, had splashed the
Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page after the massacre at the Paris
publication, running the headline “This much freedom must be possible!”

Police
said the attack had occurred at about 0120 GMT and that two young men
seen acting suspiciously near the scene were detained. State security
has opened an investigation, a spokesman added.

Whether
there was a connection between the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and the
attack was the “key question”, the spokesman said, adding that it was
“too soon” to know for certain.

Police declined to provide further information about the suspects.

No one at the Hamburger Morgenpost, which has a circulation of around 91,000, could immediately be reached for comment.

“Thick
smoke is still hanging in the air, the police are looking for clues,”
the newspaper said in its online edition, under the headline “Arson
attack on the MOPO – Due to the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ cartoons?”.

It
published a picture showing firefighters in the courtyard of the
building with a caption saying the incendiary device had been hurled
into the basement.

Another photo showed charred newspapers from the tabloid’s archive.

It said no one had been in the building at the time.

Hamburg is Germany’s second city, with a population of around 2.4 million.

– Solidarity with French cartoonists –

Media
reports said the newspaper’s publishers had ordered private security
protection for the building in the western district of Othmarschen after
publishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

German news agency DPA
quoted a police spokeswoman as saying that the editorial team should be
able to continue work in the building as the damage was relatively
minor.

“There is no new information, no one has claimed responsibility,” she was quoted as saying.

Two
Islamic extremists stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday,
killing 12 people including some of France’s best-loved satirists.

Both men were killed Friday in a standoff with police.

Several
German newspapers had published Charlie Hebdo cartoons, including those
featuring the Prophet Mohammed, on their front pages Thursday in a
gesture of solidarity with the murdered French cartoonists and in
defence of free speech.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, due in Paris on
Sunday for a massive march in solidarity with the victims, had on
Saturday addressed members of her party in Hamburg, which is also one of
Germany’s 16 federal states and which is holding elections next month.

She
stressed the need for the exchange of security intelligence among
Europe’s secret services, particularly among members of the Schengen
passport-free zone.

Hamburg’s Islamist scene came to global
attention in 2001 when it emerged that three of the suicide hijackers
from the September 11 attacks on the United States, including ringleader
Mohammed Atta, had lived and studied in the city.

Germany’s Bild
am Sonntag newspaper reported earlier that the bloodshed in France could
signal the start of a wave of attacks in Europe, citing communications
by Islamic State leaders intercepted by US intelligence.

Shortly
after the bloodbath in Paris, the US National Security Agency had
intercepted communications in which leaders of the jihadist group
announced the next wave of attacks, the tabloid said, citing unnamed
sources in the US intelligence services.
A
24-year-old German suspected of joining Islamic State jihadists in
Syria was arrested Saturday, months after he returned from the
war-ravaged country.
German
officials estimate around 550 of their citizens have made their way to
Syria and Iraq to fight alongside Islamic State, raising fears of
attacks on home soil when they return.

– Yahoo News

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