German police have arrested two teenage boys targeting Sikhs.
The joyous occasion of a wedding turned into an evening of terror for about 200 people, while they were still taking part in the ceremonies in a Sikh temple in the German city of Essen. The bomb attack happened at the Gurdwara Sahib, on April 16, 2016. The explosion that happened inside the temple injured 3 people, including the 60-year old cleric who officiated the wedding.
According to Lars Lindemann, a spokesman for Essen police, the explosion was a violent one, it blew out several windows and destroyed a part of the building's exterior. Luckily, no one was killed. The spokesman told the Associated Press that a masked man has been reported to have fled the scene right after the blast.
Essen police have detained two 16-year old teenage boys in connection with the attack. One of them turned himself in after the police published the footage from the surveillance camera that showed him as an alleged perpetrator. The other boy was arrested from his home by special police units. According to the German media, both the boys were born and raised in Germany.
Apart from that information, the identities of the boys have not been given by the police in compliance with the German privacy laws. A backpack and a balaclava, presumably belonging to the perpetrators, has been recovered by the police from the blast scene.
Frank Richter, Essen police Chief, tagged the blast as an act of terror. He said the two boys have links with Islamic extremists in northwest Germany. He said they are investigating whether the boys are part of a bigger group or just self-radicals acting on their own.
Richter said that they have a number of leads that have to be evaluated, and in the coming days, there will be more arrests. He said the boys have admitted to the attack partially, however, they have not said anything about their motives.
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According to DPA, the largest press agency in Germany, there are between 8,000 to 15,000 Sikhs in Germany. Residents of Essen has already come out in full support for the Sikh community. Ralf Jaeger, the interior minister of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, expressed his shock regarding the whole incident. He said the fact that there are people growing up in their community who are willing to build bombs and cause harm to people's lives, is very unsettling.
The Essen police do not have any idea why the Sikh community was targeted, however, they are doing everything to ensure their protection.