The suspect was waiting for the American bus at Germany's Frankfort airport when he shouted Allah Akbar, opened fire killing two U.S. airmen and wounding two others, then dropped his gun at scene, and ran into a terminal where he was subdued. The shooter has been identified by Kosovo interior minister as 21-year-old Arif Uka, from the northern town of Mitrovica. The names of the dead and wounded are being withheld for now. Patrick Meehan, a member of the US homeland security committee, said it looked like a terrorist attack, according to the Guardian UK.
The four American airmen were all based at the Lakenheath military base in Britain and were going to be deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan.
From the Daily Mail:
According to city police spokesman Manfred Füllhardt, the bus load of airmen had just arrived from England and had boarded the bus to go to the American military base at Ramstein, a few dozen miles to the southwest of the Frankfurt Airport.
Mr Füllhardt said the suspect argued with some of the airmen before shooting one who was standing in the open door as well as the driver. [snip]
Police spokesman Jürgen Linker said; 'Everything happened inside the bus.'
Eyewitnesses said the man 'infiltrated' himself among the GIs before shouting out radical Islamic slogans and then reaching into a bag for his gun. (continue)
We will update as more information becomes available.
Two people were killed and two were injured, at least one critically, in a shooting attack on U.S. military personnel at 3:20 p.m. local time March 2 at Germany’s Frankfurt International Airport. According to breaking news reports, an armed attacker boarded a U.S. military bus idling in front of Terminal 2 and began shooting. The two killed were a U.S. soldier and the driver of the bus, whose nationality is unclear. The perpetrator is alleged to be from Kosovo, of Albanian ethnicity and 21 years old, according to German media sources. According to news reports, the U.S. forces involved in the attack were on their way to Afghanistan.
There have been plots against U.S. military targets in Germany in recent years. The attack fits in the category of “armed jihadist assault” similar to what American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki called for in mid-2010 in jihadist Internet chat rooms. Al-Awlaki had been tied to U.S. Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was charged with the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
The attack in Frankfurt appears to have been a soft-target attack. Soft targets are vulnerable to attack due to the absence of adequate security or standoff distance. Areas at airports outside the security check-in points are such targets. STRATFOR has for some time predicted that militants would seek out such targets, especially considering their fixation on airplanes. The recent bombing at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow, for example, targeted the international arrivals area where families, friends and drivers awaited travelers emerging from the terminal. Such areas are difficult to secure because doing so would require essentially cordoning off the entire airport.
If reports of the attacker’s ethnicity are true, this would not be the first time ethnic Albanians have joined international jihad. A number of Albanian individuals were part of the Fort Dix plot in the United States in 2007. U.S. authorities broke up a militant cell in North Carolina that involved an individual of ethnic Albanian origin. In 2009, a U.S. citizen of Albanian descent from Brooklyn, New York, tried to go to Pakistan for militant training. Albanian militants fighting in the Kosovo Liberation Army, however, largely eschewed militant Islam during their fight against Serbia in the late 1990s and in fact allied with NATO against the regime of then-Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. Recent jihadist plots, however, indicate that the diaspora in the West has had a considerable number of cases of radicalization.