German officials were quick to claim the attack was “right wing xenophobic” before having any information about the attacker(s). Dresden is the headquarters of the anti-Islamization movement PEGIDA and the scene of many anti-Muslim rallies by the increasingly popular Alternative for Germany (ADF) party.
Two improvised explosive devices have gone off in the eastern German city of Dresden, targeting a mosque and an international conference center. No one was injured, according to police, although the mosque was severely damaged. Both explosions took place on Monday evening. Police first responded to an emergency call informing them of an explosion at a mosque on Hühndorfer Street.
The authorities said that the imam and his family had been inside the mosque at the time of the detonation, but had managed to escape unharmed. The door of the mosque was pushed inward by the force of the blast and the building was heavily covered in soot. The second explosion took place shortly afterwards, in front of Dresden’s International Congress Center on Devrientstrasse. The bar of a nearby hotel was evacuated.
Michael Opperskalski, journalist and expert on international affairs, told RT he also sees a xenophobic background to the attacks in Dresden, noting that the nationalist sentiment gradually gaining popularity in Germany is a political threat to the country.
Germany was the target of several violent attacks this summer, with three of them committed by migrants. In two cases the assailants pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
On July 24, a 27-year-old Syrian refugee, who had pledged allegiance to the terrorist group, detonated a bomb in the Bavarian town of Ansbach, killing himself and injuring 15 people. On 18 July, a 17-year-old refugee armed with an ax and knife injured five people when he attacked passengers on a train near the city of Wuerzburg, also in Bavaria, before being shot by police. The attack was later claimed by ISIS.
Following the attacks, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere warned that more than 520 Muslim migrants in the country are capable of committing “unexpected” and potentially “high-profile” terrorist attacks, stressing that the Islamic terrorist threat in Germany is “very real.”