German police detain nine over newspaper arson attack

AFP , Wednesday 4 Mar 2015

German police on Wednesday temporarily detained nine suspects over a January arson attack on a newspaper that had reprinted cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed from French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Officers in dawn raids searched 12 apartments, detained the suspects aged 16 to 21, and took them to a police station to record their personal details before releasing them, said police in the northern city of Hamburg.

The group of local-area youths and adolescents, who were of German, Nigerian, Cameroonian and Turkish origin, were also suspected of having vandalised a nearby high school a day before the arson attack, police and prosecutors said in a joint statement.

The attack on the regional tabloid Hamburger Morgenpost, which caused property damage but no injuries, came just days after jihadist gunmen in Paris killed 12 people in the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

The perpetrators in Hamburg threw a manhole cover, several rocks and two incendiary devices into the building, causing damage to its archives.

The daily, known locally as the MOPO, had splashed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page with the headline "This much freedom must be possible!".

Prosecutors have refused to speculate on a motive for the newspaper attack, saying that with the aid of evidence collected in the raids, "we will now have to clarify this".

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