BAGHDAD/BERLIN – Iraqi police said on Saturday that a 20-year-old Iraqi man had admitted to the rape and murder of 14-year-old Susanna Feldman in Germany, where the case has stoked the immigration debate.
The Jewish teenager from Mainz near Frankfurt was found dead on Wednesday in a wooded area in Wiesbaden, near a refugee center where the alleged attacker had lived, German police said.
An autopsy showed she had been the victim of a sexual and violent attack. Police said there was no evidence her religion had been a factor and the Central Council of Jews in Germany cautioned against attributing any anti-Semitic motive.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Friday Kurdish security forces had taken the suspect, identified by German authorities as Ali Bashar, into custody on Friday.
“I ordered three officers to investigate the case. After seven hours, the officers were able to identify the location of the accused murderer and arrest him,” local police chief Tariq Ahmed told Rudaw television.
Ahmed said that the suspect had confessed to raping and killing the German teenager during interrogation by Kurdish security authorities. German Bild newspaper reported that Bashar and Feldman argued before he attacked and killed her.
German newspaper Wiesbadener Kurier reported that Bashar was expected to be extradited to Germany on Saturday. A spokesman for Germany’s federal police declined to comment on the report.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to take in large numbers of asylum seekers during Europe’s 2015 migrant crisis has stirred a political backlash, with many politicians calling for new rules to make it easier to deport immigrants.
Bashar had been living in Germany as a refugee since 2015, German media have reported.
Police, who set up a special call center for tips from the public and issued releases in Arabic and Turkish, told reporters on Thursday that Bashar had likely fled to Erbil in Iraq.
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