Kosovan admits shooting US airmen at Frankfurt airport

Arid Uka in court in Frankfurt, 31 August
Image caption Arid Uka grew up in Germany

A Kosovo man has told a German court he regrets shooting dead two US servicemen at Frankfurt airport and does not understand why he did it.

Arid Uka, 21, told the court he had been radicalised by jihadist propaganda videos he watched online.

Prosecutors believe he acted alone in carrying out the first deadly attack by an Islamist on German soil.

Two other US airmen were seriously injured in the attack on an air force bus in March.

"What I did was wrong, but I cannot undo what I did," Mr Uka told the court in Frankfurt at the opening of his trial.

Prosecutors said he had wanted to kill the airmen because they were going to join the Nato-led force in Afghanistan.

'Can't understand'

Image caption Two men were killed and two others seriously hurt in the attack

The Kosovo Albanian said he had carried out the attack after watching a video purporting to show US servicemen raping a Muslim girl in Iraq.

In fact, the video was a scene from Brian De Palma's anti-war film, Redacted.

"I thought what I saw in that video, these people would do in Afghanistan," Mr Uka said.

"I killed two people and opened fire on three others.

"Today I can't understand myself how I could have acted this way."

He had no known contact with Islamist groups, prosecutors say.

Man blinded

Prosecutors say Mr Uka went into one of the airport terminals, saw some US airmen and followed them back to their military bus. They say he asked one of them for a light, asked him where the bus was going, and then shot that man dead.

The indictment says he then boarded the bus, shouting "Allah-u akbar" (God is great), and shot another man dead. Two others were severely injured; one of them was blinded in one eye.

He put his gun against the head of a fifth serviceman but the trigger jammed.

Prosecutors say Mr Uka then fled into the terminal, where he was apprehended and confessed to the attack.

If the court accepts his confession, he is likely to get 15 years in prison.

The airmen on the bus had just flown in from Britain and were about to travel to the nearby US airbase at Ramstein, a hub for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Arid Uka was born in the Kosovo town of Mitrovica but grew up in Germany. At the time of the attack, he was apparently working at the airport.

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