Arid Uka

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Arid Uka
Born (1990-02-08) February 8, 1990 (age 24)
Mitrovica, Kosovo
Nationality German
Ethnicity Albanian
Occupation Frankfurt Airport post office employee
Known for Committing the 2011 Frankfurt Airport shooting
Religion Islam
Criminal charge
Two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment
Criminal status Imprisoned, awaiting parole

Arid Uka[a] (born 8 February 1990) is a Muslim Kosovo Albanian from Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany. On 2 March 2011, he murdered two U.S. airmen and severely wounded two others at Frankfurt Airport. This incident is considered to be the first successful assassination in Germany with an Islamist background.[1][2][3][4]


Since 1991, Uka has lived in Germany, where his family settled for four decades. His grandfather is a Kosovo-Albanian imam, while his parents and two brothers are considered to have a secular lifestyle.[5][6] It was reported that Uka prayed five times a day, and when he was working for Deutsche Post at Frankfurt Airport, he was prompted not to pray during his shift.

He was described as an excellent pupil in school, but had frequent absences due to psychological problems. In 2005, his class was invited to the German Chancellery in Berlin when they won a prize for a school project about violence prevention in society. On the occasion, a photo was made which shows Uka next to German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.[7] Uka left school before his university-entrance diploma, but didn't tell his family. Instead, he told them that he had finished the diploma successfully. His family members, former friends, and one of his employers described him as introverted, polite, and not aggressive. Months before the shooting, Uka broke ties to all his friends and retreated. During this time, he was extensively surfing the web visiting websites with jihadist content.[8]


Via the internet, Uka managed to establish contact with Sheik Abdellatif of the so-called Da'wa group, who preached in two mosques in Frankfurt. The Salafi mosque of these two is considered as a meeting-point for radical Islamists. Several well-known Islamists have been seen there.[9]


Shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great"), Uka fired with a pistol on unarmed United States Air Force airmen and the driver of an Air Force bus that was waiting at a terminal of Frankfurt Airport.[10][11][12][13] The bus was a shuttle service for U.S. soldiers who were formerly stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the United Kingdom and intended to be forwarded to Ramstein Air Base in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The first airmen had already boarded the bus, while others still waited to do so. Uka first shot an airman in the back of the head as he climbed the bus stairs, and then the bus driver behind the steering wheel after screaming, "Allahu Akbar"; both shooting victims died.[14] The victims are Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, 25, and Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback, 21.[15] Uka next entered the bus and fired at other passengers, severely wounding two. Then, as he was about to shoot Sergeant Trevor Donald Brewer, who was trying to cover himself between seat rows, his pistol jammed. Uka left the bus and tried to flee inside a terminal, but he was pursed by Brewer and an American airport employee, Lamar Joseph Conner. Inside the terminal, German Bundespolizei was able to catch the assassin. Brewer and Conner later were honoured with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.[16][17][18][19]


According to investigations, the motivation for the shooting was a video of YouTube, which showed U.S. soldiers raping Iraqi Muslim women. Uka was convinced that the video was genuine, but it was revealed that the video was a clip taken from Redacted, an American movie based on the Mahmudiyah massacre. On the internet, Uka posted on several Islamist forums, later claiming that through the content and the discussions in these forums, he came to the belief that his Muslim fellows were in global war with the United States.[20][21][22]


During Uka's trial, his defense lawyer described him as a non-typical violent criminal who is neither religiously motivated nor an Islamist terrorist, while the Attorney General of Germany named Uka as a single perpetrator, which was applied for a sentence of life imprisonment plus a finding of "exceptional gravity of guilt".[23] The Hessian High Court (Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main) decided on 10 February 2012 to act on the applications filed by the Attorney General of Germany. Uka was sentenced to life imprisonment with the determination of an "exceptional gravity of guilt", which mandates that he be extradited to Kosovo since he does not hold a German citizenship. He was later sentenced to a fine of more than three years in a German prison.


a.   ^ Albanian: Arid Uka. Serbo-Croatian: 'Arid Uka, Арид Ука.


  1. ^ Zwei US-Soldaten am Flughafen erschossen. In: Hessischer Rundfunk, 2. März 2011 (in German)
  2. ^ Lebenslange Haft für Flughafenattentäter. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  3. ^ Lebenslang für Frankfurter Flughafenattentäter. In: ZDF, heute-Nachrichten, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  4. ^ This is my favourite killer outfit. In: Daily Mail, 4. März 2011 (in English)
  5. ^ BKA: Keine radikale Familie um Flughafen-Täter. In: Focus, 14. November 2011 (in German)
  6. ^ Flughafen-Attentäter verurteilt: Lebenslänglich für Arid Uka. In: Berliner Zeitung, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  7. ^ Frankfurt Attack Mystifies Suspect’s Family. In: The New York Times, 8. März 2011 (in English)
  8. ^ Höchststrafe für US-Soldaten-Mord. In: Die Tageszeitung, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  9. ^ Der Frankfurter Pistolenschütze und seine Kontakte‘‘. In: heise online, 3. März 2011 (in German)
  10. ^ Zwei US-Soldaten am Flughafen erschossen. In: Hessischer Rundfunk, 2. März 2011 (in German)
  11. ^ Lebenslang für Flughafen-Attentäter. In: Hessischer Rundfunk, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  12. ^ Flughafen-Attentäter muss lebenslang hinter Gitter. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  13. ^ Islamistischer Anschlag: Lebenslang für Frankfurter Flughafenattentäter. In: Focus, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Höchststrafe für US-Soldaten-Mord In: Die Tageszeitung, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  16. ^ Fotostrecke: Schießerei am Flughafen Frankfurt. In: Der Tagesspiegel, 3. März 2011 (Pictures)
  17. ^ Wie Arid Uka am Flughafen zum Mörder wurde. In: Frankfurter Neue Presse, 9. Februar 2012 (in German)
  18. ^ Flughafen-Attentäter verurteilt: Lebenslänglich für Arid Uka. In: Berliner Zeitung, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  19. ^ Fotostrecke: Trauer nach Anschlag. In: Hessischer Rundfunk, 3. März 2011 (in German)
  20. ^ Lebenslange Haftstrafe für Frankfurter Flughafen-Attentäter. In: Der Spiegel, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  21. ^ Frankfurter Flughafen-Attentäter erhält lebenslange Haft. In: Der Tagesspiegel, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  22. ^ Frankfurter Flughafen-Attentäter bekommt lebenslänglich. In: Die Zeit, 10. Februar 2012 (in German)
  23. ^ Pressemitteilung des Generalbundesanwalts vom 7. Juli 2011 (in German)

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