SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Islamist motive ‘likely’ in deadly knife attack in Würzburg

German investigators said Tuesday they suspected an Islamic extremist motive behind a knife attack last week by a Somali man that left three women dead in the southern city of Würzburg.

Islamist motive 'likely' in deadly knife attack in Würzburg
Tributes to the victims of the Würzburg attack. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Nicolas Armer

“The Bavarian Central Office for Extremism and Terrorism has taken over the probe because an Islamist motive is likely,” a joint statement from Bavarian state prosecutors and the state crime investigations office said.

A 24-year-old man on Friday went on a knife rampage in Würzburg, Bavaria, stabbing three women to death and leaving six other people seriously injured.

The suspect, a Somali who arrived in Germany in 2015, struck in the city centre on Friday evening, first at a household goods store before moving on to a bank.

READ ALSO: German investigators seek motive in dearly knife attack

He was cornered by bystanders, then overpowered by police after they shot him in the thigh.

Investigators found records showing that the man had been treated at a psychiatric institution, and police said he was not a known Islamist.

However the Bavarian authorities said in their statement that a number of factors made an Islamic extremist motive appear probable.

These included witness accounts that suspect cried “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) during his killing spree.

The suspect reportedly also mentioned “jihad” from his hospital bed after he was taken into custody.

The German government has been hesitant to classify the assault as a terror attack and urged the public to wait until the investigation is complete before drawing conclusions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said “what is certain is that the horrific act is directed at all humanity and every religion”, her spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted on Saturday.

But the far-right AfD party in particular has seized on the violence just three months before a general election.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ANTI-SEMITISM

Police deployed at German synagogue after bullet holes found

German police staged a major deployment at a synagogue in the western city of Essen on Friday after several bullet holes were found in the adjacent former rabbi's residence.

Police deployed at German synagogue after bullet holes found

Police said “four shots were fired from a loaded weapon” into the exterior of the home next to the city’s Old Synagogue but that no one was injured.

Officers were inspecting the site with sniffer dogs for any explosives.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said he was “shocked by this latest attack on Jewish life in Germany”.

“Anti-Semitism must have no place. It is our duty to protect Jewish life,” he tweeted.

Media reports said the shots were fired overnight and reported on Friday morning. They targeted a glass door at the entryway of the residence and two bullets pierced the glass.

State interior minister Herbert Reul told local media that the alleged assailant, a man, had been captured on a security camera but was still at large.

The incident came three years after a gunman killed two people in the eastern city of Halle after failing to storm a synagogue on Yom Kippur.

Before the attack, he had posted a racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic manifesto online.

Germany in May reported a new record in the number of politically motivated crimes last year, including a nearly 29-percent jump in anti-Semitic crimes to 3,027.

Seven decades after the Holocaust in which the Nazi regime slaughtered six million Jews, the vast majority of the offences — 2,552 — were attributed to the far-right scene.

Essen’s Old Synagogue was built in the early 20th century but its interior was largely destroyed by the Nazis in the November 1938 pogrom.

It underwent a thorough restoration and reopened as an expanded Jewish Culture House for interfaith dialogue in 2010.

READ ALSO: ‘We will fight for our Germany’: Holocaust survivor issues warning to far right

SHOW COMMENTS