The two teenagers suspected of carrying out a bomb attack at a gurdwara in the German city of Essen wanted to cause maximum casualties by detonating the explosives inside, but were unable to break into the Sikh shrine, investigators have said.
“It was a matter of great luck that a major catastrophe was averted,” a police spokesman said.
An explosion ripped through the entrance hall of the Nanaksar Satsang Sabha Gurdwara on the evening of April 16, shortly after it hosted a wedding ceremony.
Most of around 200 wedding guests, including children, had left the gurdwara to attend a reception in a nearby hall when the bomb went off.
A 60-year-old suffered serious injuries and had to be hospitalised while two 47- and 56-year-old men had minor injuries. The injured included the ‘granthi’ (priest) on whom the whole pane of glass had fallen due to the impact.
New information on the attack given by the North Rhine Westphalia interior ministry on Thursday showed that the 16-year-old secondary school students Mohammed B and Yussuf T wanted to detonate their self-made bomb, a fire extinguisher filled with explosives, inside the gurdwara.
But they could not break into the gurdwara through the door and they set off the explosion at the entrance. The bomb was so powerful that the explosion caused severe damage to the building.
Mohammed B had presented himself as “Kuffr killer” (killer of infidels) on his Facebook profile in November last year and displayed jihadi symbols, regional newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported.
The newspaper said it had on November 27 reported about Mohammed B’s intention to kill “non-believers” and carried on its website screen shots of his Facebook profile.
Mohammed B had also glorified the terror attacks in Paris on November 13 and derided its 130 victims on his updated Facebook profile, the report said.
Security authorities are alarmed by the terror attack and they are trying to establish whether the two men are linked to a jihadi terror network, it said. Immediately after the attack, Mohammed made contacts with a 16-year-old Salafist in Wesel in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the report said.