German newspaper that reprinted Muhammad cartoons firebombed
Feature Story - Germany - The Guardian

German newspaper that reprinted Muhammad cartoons firebombed

Arson attack on offices of Hamburg tabloid that published Charlie Hebdo cartoons on front page after Paris massacre.

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A German newspaper that reprinted the Muhammad cartoons from the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo has been the target of an arson attack.

Several stones and an incendiary device were thrown through the window of the archive of the regional tabloid daily, the Hamburger Morgenpost, early on Sunday morning. The paper had splashed three Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page after the Paris massacre, running the headline “This much freedom must be possible!”

“Rocks and then a burning object were thrown through the window,” a police spokesman told AFP. “Two rooms on lower floors were damaged but the fire was put out quickly.”

No one was hurt in the attack in the northern port city. Two people were detained and an investigation has begun, police said.

The police said it was too soon to say whether there was a connection between the attack and the newspaper’s publication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

Police declined to provide further information about the suspects.

On its website, the Hamburger Morgenpost published photos showing bundles of fire-damaged newspapers and files piled up outside the building by the fire brigade. “Thick smoke is still hanging in the air, the police are looking for clues,” the newspaper said in its online edition.

Media reports said the newspaper’s publishers had ordered private security protection for the building in the western district of Othmarschen.

German news agency DPA reported that the attack had been launched from a courtyard of the building and hit the newspaper’s archive room where some records were destroyed.

It quoted a police spokeswoman as saying the editorial team should be able to continue working in the building as the damage was relatively minor.

Two Islamic extremists stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, killing 12 people, including some of France’s best-known satirists. Both suspects were killed on Friday in a standoff with police.

Several German newspapers had published the Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons on their front pages on Thursday in a gesture of solidarity with the French cartoonists and in defence of free speech.

Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday that the bloodshed in France could signal the start of a wave of attacks across Europe, citing communications by Islamic State leaders intercepted by US intelligence.

Shortly after the attack in Paris, the US National Security Agency had intercepted communications in which leaders of the jihadi group announced a next wave of attacks, the tabloid said, citing unnamed sources in the US intelligence services.