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Germany bomber pledged allegiance to IS: Bavarian interior minister

Video on refugee's phone suggests he planned a 'terrorist attack' before blowing himself up in Ansbach, says Joachim Herrmann
A polic officer in protective gear inspects a back pack used to carry an explosive device at the scene of a suicide attack in the southern German city of Ansbach (AFP)

A Syrian refugee who blew himself up in southern Germany pledged allegience to the Islamic State (IS) group in a video found on his phone, Bavaria's top security official has said.

Joachim Herrmann, the state's interior minister, said on Monday an initial translation of an Arabic-language video found on the 27-year-old's phone showed he had planned a "revenge" attack against Germany.

The man, who has not been named, killed himself and injured 15 others in an explosion in Ansbach on Sunday. Herrmann said the evidence strongly suggested the blast was a "terrorist attack".

"A video made by the assailant was found on his mobile phone in which he threatened an attack," Herrmann said.

"After that he announced in the name of Allah that he pledged allegiance to (IS chief) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the well-known Islamist leader, and announced an act of revenge against Germans because they were standing in the way of Islam."

IS claimed the attack shortly after Herrmann's statement.

Earlier, Germany's Interior Ministry said that the man had been set to be deported to Bulgaria.

“Syrians cannot at the moment be deported to Syria, but that doesn’t mean that Syrians overall cannot be deported,” spokesman Tobias Plate said.

The bomber detonated a backpack device after being refused entry to a music festival in Bavaria, where it is suggested he planned to explode the bomb in the crowds.

The attack is the fourth in less than a week in Germany.

Germany's interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said on Monday the country would boost its police presence at airports and train stations and carry out stop and search operations close to border areas.

"What seems particularly important to me at the moment is an increased police presence in public spaces," de Maiziere said in Berlin.

"I have therefore ordered that the federal police visibly increase their presence at airports and railways stations and that there are random checks, which are not visible but very effective, in border areas."

Machete attack

Earlier on Sunday, a Syrian asylum-seeker was arrested after killing a woman with a machete in the southwest German city of Reutlingen, in an incident police said did not bear the hallmarks of a "terrorist attack" and may have been a crime of passion.

Two people were also wounded in the machete assault, which ended when the 21-year-old attacker was hit by a car.

"At this stage of the inquiry we have nothing to indicate this was a terrorist attack," local police said in a statement, adding that the attack happened after the perpetrator "had a dispute" with the woman.

"There is no danger to anyone else at this time," a police official told Reuters. 

After killing her with the machete, the suspect then wounded a man and woman before being arrested, the statement said.

The incident took place in the centre of Reutlingen, a city of some 100,000 located near Stuttgart, at about 4.30pm local time.

The attacker was "known to police", the statement added.

"When a man and woman have an argument, we assume that we are dealing with a crime of passion," a local police spokesman told DPA, after media reported that the attacker and the murdered woman were close and worked in the same snack bar.

Third attack in 3 days

The machete attack followed a shooting rampage by a gunman at a busy mall in Munich. The gunman, an 18-year-old German-Iranian who shot himself after the attack, likely acted alone and had "no link" to either the Islamic State (IS) group or refugees, German police said on Saturday.

Nine people were slain in the shooting that began early Friday evening, with 16 wounded according to the latest official toll.

The latest attack also came six days after a teenage asylum-seeker went on a rampage with an axe and a knife on a regional train near the southern city of Wuerzburg, wounding five people.

Authorities investigating the axe rampage said the teen responsible was thought to be a "lone wolf" who was "inspired" by the Islamic State (IS) group without being a member of the network.