Early information about the attack that killed nine people in Munich, Germany, Friday indicates that the gunman was not an Islamic terrorist, an Omaha researcher of terrorist activities said.

“It’s definitely not in line with jihadist ideology,” said Gina Ligon, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

One significant factor was that the 18-year-old, identified by German authorities as a dual German-Iranian national, apparently killed himself after the attack, said Ligon, whose specialty is industrial and organizational psychology. Her research includes studying domestic and international violent terrorist groups.

Attackers following the Islamic State’s ideology believe that a person committing suicide would go to hell, not heaven, she said.

“It’s only if they die while they’re killing other people” that the group believes martyrdom in heaven awaits, Ligon said, such as a suicide bombing attack. “That’s considered being killed by the crusader. If you just kill yourself, that’s considered cowardly and not martyr-worthy.”

In addition, she said, having an Iranian background probably would mean that the attacker was a member of Islam’s Shiite branch, which is opposed to the Islamic State.

By Saturday morning in Germany, the Islamic State has not claimed responsibility for the attack on its official social media network, Ligon said, although sometimes there is a delay between an attack and a claim.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1080, steve.jordon@owh.com

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