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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Munich Attack in Europe

Police at the Munich Attack - Getty Images
Police at the Munich Attack – Getty Images


On the night of Friday July 22, 18 year old Ali Sonboly, opened fire in between the crowded Olympia shopping mall and a McDonald’s in Munich, Germany. He killed 9 people and wounded 27. This was from 6:00 to 8:30pm local German time. After he opened fire, his location was unknown for about 2 and a half hours, before he shot himself.

During all the panic and some confusion the police had been misinformed about the gunman’s location. They had been told that there was shooting in another area as well. That lead to false alarms and lock downs. The idea that the killer could have accomplices was definitely considered but fortunately it was later found to be incorrect. Many people had jumped to the conclusion that Ali Sonboly’s attack was related to ISIS, but this proved to be false, in fact Ali Sonboly was not even Muslim.

The attack stopped traffic and many modes of transportation. Shops were closed or locked and the lights were off. “I waited for the tram, but each time it came by, it didn’t stop or open the doors” said Daniel MaComascaigh a designer that was going to her dance studio which would be cancelled. Not unlike Daniel many other people’s meetings, lessons and other arrangements for that day were also cancelled. Therefore similarly to Daniel most people relying on public transport had to walk home. Daniel felt very relieved but exhausted both emotionally and physically to come home. She “arrived home at midnight after walking from one end of town to the other” it took her a whole three hours, for some it might have taken oven longer. Daniel’s family is quite small yet every single person in it has been affected by some for of terrorist attack within the last 15 years.

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Over the past two years there have been notably more press coverage on terrorist attacks. The attacks in Europe seemed to have been centered in France, which saw attacks in Nice and Paris, but with this latest Munich attack and the March Belgian Airport bombing, the focus has shifted. Fox news says that “The Munich massacre has been the 3rd major attack in Europe in the past 8 days”.

One of the reasons why the Munich Attack has attracted so much international attention is that more that half of the victims of the attack were children.. “This type of attack is advocated by terrorists because murdering children leaves the biggest scar”- News Reporter Catherine Herridge from Fox News said. It is not known whether they were lured there by the promise of free food, which is was posted on Facebook by the gunman using a false profile, or if it was just unfortunate timing. This account was not his personal account and was created purposely for the attack.

The killer had supposedly planned this attack for over a year and had been obsessed with shootings. He had searched regularly on the internet and read about in books found in his home. Ali Sonboly was “mentally ill”said a representative from  CNN news and although investigations are still ongoing, there is no evidence that he was , involved with ISIS or any other terrorist group. He had been living in an economically depressed area, and thereby didn’t receive adequate mental health care. He had also been bullied when he was in school which might have been one of the negative effects on his mental state.

One woman claimed that  the gunman had yelled “Allah Akbar”, a Muslim prayer which has been appropriated by terrorists, but there were no other witnesses who heard this. Investigators doubt this attack had any connection with a Jihadist group, therefore the notion was dismissed. “Allah Akbar” is literally translated into “god is great”, this is used in the islamic culture as an exclamation or in prayer, unfortunately today it is more associated with Jihadist attacks. Considering a numerous amount of the attacks during 2015-2016 have been associated with Jihadist groups, many are quick to assume that they always the cause. This only adds fuel to the fire, giving these terrorist groups a worldwide identity.

While Ali Sonboly attacked, he yelled “I am German, I was born in the Turkish part of Germany”.

He had dual citizenship but considered himself part of the “Aryan Race”, he even went as far as to be proud of sharing the same birthday as Hitler. During his rant about being German he also stated he had been bullied for seven years. In school he had told his bullies that someday he would kill them all. He was diagnosed with depression and was treated in 2015. In any case, this attack does has not been proven to relate to a Jihadist group. 

One thing people were very thankful for was a messaging feature set up on facebook for just these types of incidents. The message feature allowed you to press a button to let people know you’re okay, that way you can check if your friends and family are okay. Throughout all people have pulled through. “ we shouldn’t give into our fears” Daniel explained “the more fear we show the more individual terrorists or groups can get to us”

By Celeste Bloom

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