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Planned Shelter for Migrants in Germany Burns in Suspected Arson Attack

The attack comes amid rising tensions over the flow of migrants into Germany, with some leaders speaking out in favor of tighter rules on granting asylum.
September 20, 2015, 1:30pm
Photo by Rene Engmann/EPA

German police said on Sunday that a planned accommodation center for migrants in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg was hit by an arson attack, the latest sign of tension as migrants flow to the country.

Police in the city of Heilbronn said nobody was in the sports hall in nearby Wertheim at the time of the attack, and it was not currently possible to enter the building because of fire damage. Some 330 beds for migrants had already been installed at the facility.

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The attack came as a senior member of parliament in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), spoke out in favor of tighter rules on granting asylum.

Related: While Welcoming Some Refugees, Germany Is Also Expelling Migrants Back to the Balkans

"Those who are not in danger should leave Germany as quickly as possible," Gerda Hasselfeldt told the Welt newspaper.

"We have to set clear priorities. We need our energy and resources for those who are fleeing war and persecution."

The comments came as Hungary and Croatia traded threats as thousands of migrants poured over their borders, deepening the disarray in Europe over how to handle the crisis.

A proposal being argued over ahead of a meeting of European Union interior ministers on Tuesday would, if agreed, relocate 120,000 asylum seekers over the next two years around the whole bloc.

The number of migrants entering Germany, which recently re-imposed border controls, was lower on Saturday, with 1,710 people registered, than on Friday, when the number was 1,985, police said.

Related: Germany's Economy Will Benefit From the Migrant Influx

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