German president says absolute security impossible

REUTERS
MUNICH
Published 02.08.2016 00:33

No government can guarantee its citizens full security from terror strikes, Germany's president said on Sunday, calling for national unity as the best defence after attacks in the past two weeks left 15 people dead.

"Nowhere on earth are there politicians who can make such a guarantee," Joachim Gauck, a former Christian pastor in communist East Germany, told a memorial ceremony for the attack victims in Munich.

"What we can do, however, is something we need to work on again - that is the alliance of government bodies and an alert and active civil society. This is the best possible cover against the rise of the cynical calculus of violent attackers."

Five separate attacks between July 18 and July 26, two of them claimed by DAESH, also left dozens wounded and have burst any illusions in Germany that the country is immune to attacks like those also claimed by DAESH in neighboring France.

Munich was the scene of the bloodiest of the German attacks, on July 22, in which an 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman killed nine people. The gunman's father told the Bild am Sonntag weekly newspaper that he and his wife had since received death threats: "Our life in Munich is done," he said.

Merkel, who attended Sunday's memorial but has faced media criticism for not visiting the attack scenes, set out a nine-point plan on Thursday to respond to the attacks.

Gauck said he understood why many Germans were shaken after the attacks, but Germany would not submit to the assailants. "They won't compel us to hate, like they hate," he said. "They won't hold us in the confinement of perpetual fear. We will remain what we are: a considerate, supportive society."

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