Hanau mourns its loved ones murdered in far-right attack

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Relatives of Ferhat Unvar hold his portrait aloft during the vigil in central Hanau on Thursday night [Ruairi Casey/Al Jazeera]

Hanau, Germany – On an unassuming street corner in the centre of Hanau, locals arrived on Thursday afternoon with flowers to pay their respects, placing bouquets on the pavement just under the red and white tape that marked off the scene of the previous night’s massacre.

Behind the police cordon were the blacked-out windows of the Midnight shisha bar, a popular all-night hang-out that became the unlikely scene of a far-right attack that has shaken Germany, and led many to question whether the state is failing to address the threat of far-right violence in the country.

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It was here at around 10pm last night that a gunman entered, firing a barrage of shots at customers and a waiter, killing at least three people.

The killer, 43-year-old Hanau resident Tobias Rathjen, quickly left the bar and returned to his black BMW, in which he sped two kilometres west through the night to another shisha bar, Arena, in a residential neighbourhood in the west of the city, opening fire again and leaving a further five people dead.

All victims had a migration background, according to police. According to media reports they included one Bosnian, one Pole, one Bulgarian, a number of Turks and Kurds with Turkish citizenship. A 35-year-old pregnant woman is also thought to be among the dead.