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File picture of an Islamic State (IS) flag on the other side of a bridge in Rashad, Iraq September 11, 2014. — Reuters pic
File picture of an Islamic State (IS) flag on the other side of a bridge in Rashad, Iraq September 11, 2014. — Reuters pic

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FRANKFURT, July 23 — A German court today sentenced a supporter of the Islamic State (IS) group to nine-and-a-half years in prison and committed him to psychiatric care over a series of arson attacks.

The accused, identified as German national Muharrem D., had admitted to carrying out the attacks against Turkish businesses and a mosque in the small Bavarian town of Waldkraiburg in April 2020. 

The higher regional court in Munich found the 27-year-old guilty of serious arson, 31 counts of attempted murder, and of planning further attacks with a gun and explosives.

The court also found that Muharrem D. suffered from schizophrenia and ordered him committed to a psychiatric hospital before starting his sentence.

“Without the schizophrenia, the attacks by the accused would have been unthinkable,” said Judge Jochen Boesl. 

But they also would not have happened without the accused’s rapid “Islamist-jihadist” radicalisation, he added.

The most serious attack was a night-time fire Muharrem D. started at a Turkish supermarket that risked the lives of 26 people living in flats above the shop, who were saved by their neighbours’ warnings.

He also targeted a hair salon, kebab shop, pizzeria and a local mosque. No lives were lost.

The spate of attacks in Waldkraiburg rattled the Turkish community at the time.

Muharrem D., who has Kurdish origins, was arrested in May last year. 

He admitted during his trial that he had planned to attack other mosques and the Turkish consulate in Munich.

According to the judge, the accused “saw himself as an IS fighter” and developed an extreme “hatred of Turks”.

People with ties to IS have committed several violent attacks in Germany in recent years, with the worst a ramming assault at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that killed 12 people. — AFP

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