(Corrects to show attack was March 2011, not 2010)
By Jonathan Gould and Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT Feb 10 A German court found a
Kosovo-Albanian man guilty on Friday of killing two U.S. airmen
in a gun attack at Frankfurt airport in March 2011 and wounding
two others, sentencing him to life in prison.
Arid Uka, a 22-year-old who was raised in Germany, has
confessed to the attack and said he acted after seeing a video
apparently showing U.S. soldiers raping Muslim women.
Wearing a black hooded top, he smiled when police removed
the handcuffs after bringing him into the Frankfurt courtroom,
then sat with eyes downcast as Judge Thomas Sagebiel reading out
a detailed chronology of the attack.
The judge cited aggravating circumstances, which is likely
to prevent Uka from being released early after serving 15 years.
"Yes, this is indeed the first Islamic-motivated terror
strike to have happened in Germany," said Judge Sagebiel.
The shooting last year shocked Americans. U.S. President
Barack Obama said he was outraged and the government of Kosovo,
where Uka was born, also condemned the attack.
Fears it might be part of a militant plot were allayed when
German prosecutors said he was likely to have been working
alone, although he refused to tell the judge where he obtained
the 9mm pistol used in the shooting.
In a statement to the court in August, Uka said he had been
influenced by lies and propaganda, appearing to show some
remorse. "Looking back, I don't understand myself," he said.
Federal prosecutor Jochen Weingarten said during the trial
that Uka deserved a stiff penalty because of the ferocity of his
attack. Uka would have killed more people had his pistol not
jammed, with 11 other servicemen on the bus, he said.
The court in Germany's financial capital Frankfurt heard how
the gunman walked up to airmen boarding a U.S. Army bus and
asked one of them for a cigarette.
After establishing that they were heading to Afghanistan,
Uka shot the 25-year-old man in the back of the head, killing
him, according to prosecutors.
He then boarded the bus, shouted Allahu Akbar (God is
Greatest) and shot dead a 21-year old-airman sitting in the
driver's seat. He wounded two others and pulled the trigger on a
fifth target when his gun jammed.
Uka told the court his family was not particularly
religious. He did not have many friends and played computer
games a lot, he said.
His defence attorney had said her client was no terrorist
and asked for his youth, confession and a difficult upbringing
to be taken into account in the sentencing.
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould and Christoph Steitz; writing by
Stephen Brown; editing by Philippa Fletcher)