German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday rebuffed calls to reverse her welcoming stance toward refugees after a series of brutal attacks in the country.

Merkel, who interrupted her summer holiday to face the media in Berlin, said the four assaults within a week were 'shocking, oppressive and depressing' but not a sign that authorities had lost control.

The German leader said the assailants 'wanted to undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need'.

'We firmly reject this,' she said at a wide-ranging news conference.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed not to change her migration policies at a conference in Berlin today

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed not to change her migration policies at a conference in Berlin today

Merkel repeated her rallying cry from last year when she opened the borders to people fleeing war and persecution, many from Syria, which brought nearly 1.1 million migrants and refugees to Germany in 2015.

'I am still convinced today that "we can do it" - it is our historic duty and this is a historic challenge in times of globalisation,' she said.

'We have already achieved very, very much in the last 11 months.'

Merkel was speaking after a axe rampage, a shooting spree, a knife attack and a suicide bombing stunned Germany, leaving 13 people dead, including three assailants, and dozens wounded.

Three of the four attackers were asylum seekers, and two of the assaults were claimed by the Islamic State group.

Merkel said that she would not allow jihadists, following a series of deadly attacks in France, Belgium, Turkey and the US state of Florida, to keep her government from being guided by reason and compassion.

'Despite the great unease these events inspire, fear can't be the guide for political decisions,' she said.

'It is my deep conviction that we cannot let our way of life be destroyed.'

Merkel said those who carried out attacks 'mocked the country that took them in'. 

She vowed Germany will 'stick to our principles' and give shelter to those who deserve it.  

'The terrorists want to make us lose sight of what is important to us, break down our cohesion and sense of community as well as inhibiting our way of life, our openness and our willingness take in people who are in need,' she told a news conference for which she interrupted her vacation.

'They see hatred and fear between cultures and they see hatred and fear between religions. We stand decisively against that,' she added.

Merkel today returned early from her summer holiday to address the terror crisis in germany and Europe

Merkel today returned early from her summer holiday to address the terror crisis in germany and Europe

FOUR DEADLY ATTACKS

The deadliest attack came last Friday when a German-Iranian teenager who was born and raised in Munich opened fire at a downtown shopping mall, killing nine people before turning the gun on himself.

He had been under psychiatric treatment and investigators say he was obsessed with mass shootings, including Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik's 2011 massacre.

They have ruled out an Islamist motive, saying the assailant had far-right 'sympathies'.

On July 18, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan or Pakistan slashed train passengers and a passer-by with an axe and a knife in Wuerzburg before being shot by police.

And on Sunday, a failed Syrian asylum seeker blew himself up outside a music festival in Ansbach, wounding 15 people at a nearby cafe after being turned away from the packed open-air venue. IS claimed both attacks.

Already steeped in grief and shock, Germans were further rattled by news that a Syrian refugee had killed a 45-year-old Polish woman with a large kebab knife at a snack bar in the southwestern city of Reutlingen Sunday in what authorities called a personal dispute.

She pledged to do everything to clear up the 'barbaric acts,' find out who was behind them and bring them to justice. She says Germany owes that not just to victims and relatives and other Germans, but also to other refugees.

Merkel also said that Germany will do 'everything humanly possible' to ensure security, though there will have to be a 'thorough analysis' before specific new measures are drawn up.  

On Thursday, Bavaria's interior minister says the Munich shooter who went on a rampage that killed nine appeared to have seen it as an 'especially positive fate' that his birthday was on the same day as Adolf Hitler's, April 20.

Joachim Herrmann also told reporters that the 18-year-old German-Iranian assailant nourished sympathies for the Norwegian mass shooter Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people five years before the attack in Munich on the same date, July 22.

Herrmann said that, despite this, there was no indication that the Munich attacker was involved in right-wing networks.

The assailant killed nine people and wounded 36 in a shopping mall before killing himself. 

Herrmann also spoke about the Syrian asylum-seeker who blew himself up outside a bar in southern Germany. He said he was in an online chat shortly before the explosion with a person in the Middle East.

Flowers and tributes are left at the Olympia Shopping Centre in Munich where Ali David Sonboly killed nine people in a shooting rampage on Friday

Flowers and tributes are left at the Olympia Shopping Centre in Munich where Ali David Sonboly killed nine people in a shooting rampage on Friday

Ali David Sonboly reportedly saw it as an 'especially positive fate' that his birthday was on the same day as Adolf Hitler's, April 20

Ali David Sonboly reportedly saw it as an 'especially positive fate' that his birthday was on the same day as Adolf Hitler's, April 20

He didn't specify which country the person was in and added that investigators don't know his or her identity, news agency dpa reported.

Attacker Mohammed Daleel died and 15 people were wounded when his bomb exploded outside a wine bar Sunday night after he was denied entry to a nearby open-air concert because he didn't have a ticket. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Herrmann said that whoever the assailant was chatting to knew he had explosives. He said that when Daleel said there were security staff near the festival, the unknown person said he should find a way in. 

Bavarian officials have presented an anti-terror plan following four attacks in Germany in a week, two of which were claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.

Herrmann said that his state - where three of the four attacks took place - would hire 2,000 additional police officers until 2020, improve police equipment and create new offices to fight Muslim extremism and cybercrime.

He also called for tougher background checks on asylum-seekers and new strategies to deport criminal asylum-seekers more easily. Three of the four attacks were committed by asylum-seekers.

Police yesterday raided a mosque believed to be a 'hot spot' for Islamic extremists in the city of Hildesheim

Police yesterday raided a mosque believed to be a 'hot spot' for Islamic extremists in the city of Hildesheim

The raid came as part of a crackdown on the radical German-speaking Muslim group DIK, which was branded a 'hot spot of radical Muslims'

The raid came as part of a crackdown on the radical German-speaking Muslim group DIK, which was branded a 'hot spot of radical Muslims'

Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback said at a news conference with Herrmann: 'The threat of Salafist terrorism has arrived in Europe, in Germany, but also in Bavaria.'

Meanwhile, Germany's commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration is calling on mosques across the country to be more pro-active when it comes to preventing extremism among Muslim youths.

Aydan Ozoguz said in an interview Thursday with the daily Heilbronner Stimme: 'We need to hold mosques more responsible when it comes to prevention among teenagers.'

Ozoguz' call against Muslim extremism came after four violent attacks that shook the country recently.

Two of them were the first in Germany claimed by the extremist Islamic State group. The attackers were asylum-seekers who hadn't grown up in Germany.

On Wednesday night, police raided a mosque believed to be a 'hot spot' for Islamic extremists in the city of Hildesheim. The raid didn't appear to be connected to the recent attacks. 

 

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3712591/Merkel-says-refugees-carrying-attacks-mock-country-took-vows-Germany-stick-principles-taking-migrants.html?ITO=1490

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