Kosovan confesses to shooting U.S. airmen in Germany

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Kosovan confesses to shooting U.S. airmen in Germany

Post by JonlyBonly on Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:15 am

Kosovan confesses to shooting U.S. airmen in Germany

ReutersBy Jonathan Gould | Reuters – 1 hr 55 mins ago

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian man confessed to shooting dead two U.S. airmen and wounding two more at Frankfurt airport in March, telling a packed German courtroom on Wednesday he was swayed by Islamist lies and could not undo what he had done.

Arid Uka, who entered the wood-paneled court for the start of his trial in a knee-length white shirt, was charged with two counts of murder and three of attempted murder. He could face a life sentence.

Pausing to wipe his eyes, Uka told the court he felt he had to act after he was shocked by a video the night before the attack that appeared to show U.S. soldiers raping Muslim women.

"I had to do something, I had these pictures in my head," he said in halting but good German. Although Uka was born in Kosovo, he went to school in Frankfurt. He said he had discussed religion and politics with an American friend.

Uka said, however, he had been influenced by lies and propaganda and showed some remorse. "Looking back, I don't understand myself." At times he spoke so quietly an extra microphone had to be brought in.

Uka, working at the airport's international postal center when he fired on the airmen at point-blank range with a 9mm pistol, said some people viewed his actions as good but they were subject to the same "lies and propaganda that blinded me."

The attack shocked U.S. citizens and U.S. President Barack Obama expressed outrage. German prosecutors believe Uka acted alone but he refused to tell the judge where he obtained the pistol.

Security was tight at the court in the western city of Frankfurt with police officers on standby around the entrance as crowds of people queued to enter the building.

Prosecutors have described how the gunman walked up to airmen boarding a U.S. Army bus and asked one of them for a cigarette.

After establishing the soldiers were heading to fight in Afghanistan, Uka shot the 25-year-old man in the back of the head, killing him, according to prosecutors.

He then boarded the bus, shouted Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest) and shot dead a 21-year old airman sitting in the driver's seat. He wounded two others and pulled the trigger on a fifth target when his gun jammed, according to prosecutors.

A panel of three judges will deliver the verdict at the end of the trial which scheduled to last until at least January.

(Reporting By Jonathan Gould and Reuters TV; Writing by Madeline Chambers in Berlin; Editing by Matthew Jones)


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