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Fire injures dozens at German refugee shelter

6 January 2017 15:12

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A fire at a refugee center in Germany has left dozens of people injured, raising concerns that increasing incidents linked to asylum seekers in Europe may be intentional.

One person was seriously injured and 50 others were treated for smoke inhalation in the fire incident, which happened in the city of Hoevelhof, in North Rhine-Westphalia, on Thursday. Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after the fire broke out and managed to bring the blaze under control.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire. According to reports, the shelter accommodates 500 refugees.

There have been numerous reports of incidents, including fires and fights at refugee centers and with growing anti-refugee sentiments in Germany, concerns are being raised about whether the asylum-seekers are being intentionally targeted.

On Tuesday, police were called to the same refugee center to stop a reported fight involving dozens of people, local media reported, adding that four suspects had been detained.

Europe has been the destination of many refugees from conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa. More prosperous European countries, like Germany, have seen more arrivals. Simultaneously, formerly obscure right-wing parties are gaining in popularity among the grassroots by highlighting the difficulties the refugees may be bringing with them. Some Europeans are concerned about what they see as security and economic repercussion of the refugee crisis.

But many observers blame the Western countries themselves for the refugee crisis. They say the West has forced local populations in the Middle East and Africa to flee their home countries by fanning the flames of wars and conflicts there through supporting militant groups.

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