Frankfurt airport shooting may have Islamist link, say police
Another two American servicemen were wounded, one seriously, when a lone gunman opened fire on a US military bus parked outside the terminal building on Wednesday.
German prosecutors are working with US authorities, who said the suspect was not on any American watch list.
The alleged gunman, a 21-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, had apparently been radicalised over the past few weeks, according to the interior minister of the state of Hesse. Relatives in northern Kosovo identified him as Arid Uka, a devout Muslim whose family has been living in Germany for 40 years.
He worked part time in the postroom at Frankfurt airport, and reportedly lived in the same block of flats as another suspected terrorist, Rami M, who is alleged to have links to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Rami M, whose last name has not been released, in line with German law, was picked up in Pakistan last year and extradited to Germany, where he will stand trial accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation. It is not clear whether the two men were friends.
In his first interview with police on Thursday, Uka reportedly insisted he had acted alone and was not a member of a terrorist group.
Spiegel Online says he told investigators he had carried out the attack after watching a YouTube video showing Muslim women being raped by US soldiers.
Police say he admits targeting the US air force bus, which was carrying 15 airmen based at the Lakenheath airfield in Suffolk from Frankfurt to the Ramstein airbase.
The men were supposed to be deployed to Afghanistan, but on Wednesday two were dead, one was in a critical condition after being shot in the head and another was recovering in hospital from non-life-threatening injuries.
German federal prosecutors said in a statement: "There is a suspicion that the act was motivated by Islamism."
There was disagreement between German and American officials on Thursday about whether the suspect may have had help.
"From our investigation so far, we conclude that he acted alone," said Boris Rhein, interior minister for the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located. "So far we cannot see a network."
But a Pentagon spokesman, Marine Colonel Dave Lapan, said it was still not clear whether others could have been involved in planning the attack. "One of the key focuses of the investigation will be to determine whether others were involved in the incident besides the shooter," Lapan said.
Rhein said the suspect's apartment and his computer had been searched. He said investigators believe the suspect had contact with other Islamists on a social network site, "but there is no network in the sense of a terror cell".
"There are signs that this is about a radicalised Muslim," he said.
The suspect's Facebook page features a silhouette of Kosovo, with the phrase "There is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet" written above it in Arabic. Rhein said he had recently changed his profile name from his real name to the nom de guerre Abu Reyyan.
Kosovo is mainly Muslim, but its estimated 2 million ethnic Albanians are strongly pro-American, owing to the US's leading role in Nato's 1999 bombing of Serb forces, which paved the way for Kosovo to secede from Serbia.
The US embassy in Pristina said the attack "will in no way affect the deep and abiding friendship between our two countries".