Breaking: Attack on soldiers in Frankfurt bus, 2 dead; Update: Air Force, not Army, gunman identified; Update: Two airmen confirmed killed, two more wounded; Update: “Allahu akbar!”

posted at 11:22 am on March 2, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Conflicting reports have come from Frankfurt, Germany this morning about an attack on a bus filled with American soldiers by a lone gunman.  Both the BBC and the AP report that two people have died, with the BBC claiming that one of those killed was one of our soldiers:

Two people have died after a gunman opened fire on a bus carrying American soldiers at Frankfurt airport, police say.

The driver of the bus and a US soldier were reportedly killed, while two others were seriously injured.

The BBC also reports that the gunman came from Kosovo:

A 21-year-old suspect from Kosovo is said to have been arrested after the shooting in front of Terminal 2 at Europe’s second-biggest airport.

Police have told German media it is not clear if it was a terrorist attack.

The US Army has no information at this time to pass to the media.

The Kosovo connection might or might not be significant.   The US recognized Kosovo’s independence and has full diplomatic relations with its government.  The population is mainly Albanian, with Islam being the most prevalent religion in the new state.  However, just as with the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Tucson, we have no idea who the gunman is or what has motivated him — and whether or not we actually have confirmation of his nationality.

We’ll update as more information becomes available.

Update: According to an update from the AP on their story (same link), the bus was for Air Force personnel, not Army:

The U.S. Army in Europe referred calls to the Air Force, but a spokeswoman said she could not immediately confirm that the casualties were airmen nor give any details of the incident. The bus had a U.S. government license place marked “AF” for Air Force.

Kosovo’s Interior Minister identified the gunman and called the shooting “a devastating and tragic event”:

Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi said in an interview that German police have identified the suspect Arif Uka, a Kosovo citizen from the northern town of Mitrovica.

A quick search on the name doesn’t turn up anything significant.

Update II: The US Air Force has confirmed that two US airmen were killed and two more wounded in the attack.  Prayers will be said all over the nation for the four, as well as for their families and friends.

Update III: Guess what the gunman yelled as he opened fire, according to witnesses?  Let’s not always see the same hands …

A man whose office is near the site of the shooting said it was an area where buses load arriving passengers. Speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his business, he said witnesses told him that the gunman first talked to the military personnel to find out who they were and then opened fire, shouting “God is great” in Arabic.


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