A 25-year-old Iraqi was taken to hospital with severe injuries on Saturday evening after a 70-year-old man attacked him with a knife in the city of Heilbronn. Police report that the attack was unprovoked and that the elderly man was drunk at the time of the attack.
The Iraqi man’s injuries are reportedly not life threatening. A 17-year-old Afghan and a 19-year-old Syrian also sustained light injuries in the attack which took place outside the St. Kilian's Church. Both men were treated by medics at the scene of the crime.
Police say that the attacker, a man with dual German and Russian nationality, has since been released from custody. The explanation given is that he had no previous police record and that the crime is not being treated as attempted murder but only as aggravated assault.
The man was overpowered by passersby who were able to hold him until the police arrived.
“I am deeply troubled by this revolting crime and my thoughts are with the victims. I hope they won’t suffer lasting consequences,” said Heilbronn’s mayor, Harry Mergel. “I call on people to treat refugees with humanity and be prepared to help them.”
The Heilbronner Stimme expressed disbelief at the police’s decision to release the attacker.
“You can only shake your head at the fact that the police released a man who would have kept on attacking had it not been for the courage of people nearby. It is highly likely this was a racist attack and it could have easily led to death.”