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Several injured in 'terrible' knife attack in German city of Mannheim

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Several injured in 'terrible' knife attack in German city of Mannheim
Police stand at the cordoned-off Market Square in Mannheim following a knife attack in which at least two people were injured. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Rene Priebe

A man wielding a knife attacked an anti-Islam campaigner and five other people in the southwestern German city of Mannheim on Friday before being shot by police, according to reports.

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The suspect was shot and injured by police after previously having attacked and injured several people with a knife.

One of the injured was a police officer, who according to reports in Bild was stabbed in the back and suffered severe injuries.

The police were initially unable to say how many people were hurt in the attack and how serious the injuries were, but later reports revealed that at least six people had suffered injuries.

A police spokeswoman said that there was no danger to the public.

Writing on X in the aftermath of the incident, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) condemned the "terrible" and "unacceptable" attack.

"The pictures coming out of Mannheim are terrible," Scholz wrote. "My thoughts are with the victims. Violence is absolutely unacceptable in our democracy. The perpetrator must be severely punished."

The motive for the attack is still unclear, but police say they are investigating whether the attack was politically motivated.

Videos obtained by Bild reportedly show the unidentified perpetrator attacking the right-wing populist politician Michael Stürzenberger, who was holding a campaign event in Mannheim.

Stürzenberger, who is a member of the Pax Europa campaign group against radical Islam, is known for his outspoken anti-Muslim views.

He was mentioned in a 2022 report by the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution as "the central figure in the Islamophobic scene in Bavaria that is relevant to the protection of the constitution". 

The group said on its website that Stürzenberger and several Pax Europa volunteers were injured in a knife attack at the rally.

Stürzenberger suffered serious stab wounds to his face and also to his leg, while a police officer was also stabbed in the back and neck, the group said.

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With EU election campaigns currently underway ahead of the vote on June 9th, there has been a sharp uptick in politically motivated attacks in recent weeks in Germany.

Matthias Ecke, a European parliament lawmaker for Scholz's SPD party, was set upon this month by a group of youths as he put up election posters in the eastern city of Dresden.

Days later, former Berlin mayor Franziska Gifey was hit on the head and neck with a bag as she visited a library in Berlin.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said last week that he was worried by the growing trend and said Germans "must never get used to violence in the battle of political opinions".

READ ALSO: Suspect held in latest attack on German politicians

With reporting by Imogen Goodman

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