German officer posing as refugee had list of individuals to attack, reports say

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 30.04.2017 16:27
Updated 01.05.2017 10:21

The German right-wing officer who posed as a refugee in order to carry out terrorist attacks compiled a list of individuals to target, reports said on Sunday. Oddities in the handling of his case by German authorities mount up as investigations broaden.

Franco A., an officer of the German Armed Forces who registered as an asylum seeker in Germany in order to commit terrorist attacks and attribute them to refugees out of a xenophobic state of mind, made a list of possible victims, reports said. Among them are a female actor and a politician of the Left Party (Die Linke) from Berlin, known for her work on migration policy and at least another person also living in the German capital, news reports said.

As investigations broaden, new details pointing to further abnormalities in the case-handling of the presumed refugee by German authorities surface. Franco. A. had initially told investigators that he did not speak Arabic as he was a Syrian Christian who grew up in a French-speaking colony. Apparently, German asylum authorities did not detect that he was not a native French speaker, when A. was called in for an interview. While reports on Friday still claimed that Franco A. had acted inconspicuously as an asylum seeker and that he had adhered to all official appointments, current information points to a rather different direction.

The presumed refugee, registering as "David Benjamin" in Germany's Bavaria, was hardly present at the asylum center in the area of Kirchberg, to which he had been assigned. The absence was realized by German authorities, who even left a comment on his file stating that he was "frequently on the road," according to German newspaper Nürnberger Nachrichten. His invitation for the asylum interview was initially returned to the office as the asylum center officials in Kirchberg did not recognize Mr. Benjamin.

Franco A. furthermore claimed during the interview that he had not only been persecuted in Syria for being a Christian, but that he had been wounded during an attack by Daesh and had sustained a shrapnel wound. Contrary to normal proceedings, A. never had to undergo a medical examination, reports say.

Meanwhile, former statements made by the German Ministry of Defense, said that Franco A. had not displayed any signs of adherence to right-wing ideology during his military career. When studying at the French military university of Saint-Cyr, the soldier handed in a master's thesis in 2014 that was rejected by his superiors for containing right-wing ideology and nationalist thinking and as being irreconcilable with a free, democratic order, as one of his comrades remembered and passed on to his superiors on Friday.

Initial investigations regarding his master's thesis were not conclusive, as Franco A. claimed to have written the thesis under pressure of time, distanced himseself from its content and was ready to write a replacement. The case was dropped without even receiving a mention in A.'s file, as disclosed by Germany's weekly journal "Der Spiegel" on Saturday.

The German Armed Forces are rocked by scandals that include both physical and sexualized violence and incidents of right-wing extremism within its ranks.

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