Germany shootings
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Vigils in Germany after ‘racist’ gunman kills nine

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Thousands of people took part in vigils across Germany on Thursday after a gunman with apparent far-right beliefs killed nine people at a shisha bar and a cafe in the city of Hanau.

Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the “poison” of racism, as anger mixed with grief over the latest and deadliest attack linked to Germany’s extreme right in recent months.

The suspect, 43-year-old German Tobias R., was found dead at his home after the rampage along with his 72-year-old mother in what appeared to be a murder-suicide.

Hundreds of people, many carrying candles or a white rose, gathered in silence in Hanau in the evening to show solidarity with the victims.

Large crowds also gathered in Frankfurt and at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, some carrying signs that read “Take racism personally” or “Never Again!”, in scenes replicated across dozens of German cities.

– ‘Deeply racist’ –

Germany shootings
Counter-terror prosecutors investigating the case said they saw “a xenophobic motive” behind the deadly Germany shootings.

The nine people killed at the two bars late Wednesday evening were aged between 21 and 44 and all had a “migrant background,” although some were German citizens, chief federal prosecutor Peter Frank said.

He added that evidence, including video footage and a “manifesto” found on the suspect’s website, showed Tobias R. had “a very deeply racist attitude”.

The Turkish presidency said five Turkish nationals were among those killed.

The Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said there were “several victims of Kurdish origin”, and criticised German authorities for not taking a tougher stance against “far-right terrorism”.

Speaking in Berlin, Merkel said: “Racism is a poison, hatred is a poison and this poison exists in our society and it is already to blame for far too many crimes.”

She recalled the murders carried out by the neo-Nazi “NSU” cell between 2000-07, as well as last June’s killing of pro-migrant politician Walter Luebcke as examples of the threat posed by the far right.

She also cited October’s deadly anti-Semitic attack in Halle, which raised alarm over rising anti-Jewish hatred in Germany.

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