Germany: two dead and injured in a stabbing attack on a regional train

At least two people were killed and seven injured on Wednesday in a knife attack, the alleged perpetrator of which was arrested, on a regional train traveling in northern Germany, police said.

The attack took place in the afternoon on a regional train connecting Kiel (Schleswig-Holstein) to Hamburg, said a spokesman for the Flensburg police.

Among the seven wounded, three were seriously, added a spokesman for the police of Itzehoe, a neighboring town.

The suspect is a 33-year-old man of Palestinian origin and stateless, according to the police. He was arrested at Brokstedt station, a town located about sixty kilometers from Hamburg where the regional train was immobilized. He is also slightly injured, according to the police.

“Witnesses managed to immobilize the suspect after the fact, until the police arrived in Brokstedt,” she said in a statement.

“The knife attack on a regional train is shocking news,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser tweeted. “Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific act and their families,” she added.

– “Panic scene” –

The reason for the attack has not yet been established, according to the police, adding that all leads are being studied, from the act of an extremist to the gesture of an unbalanced person.

Witnesses to the attack described a “panic scene” on the train, writes the Bild media on its website.

Forensic officers work near Brokstedt station in northern Germany on January 25, 2023 (AFP – Gregor Fischer)

A large array of police vehicles and ambulances has been deployed around the station, according to photos published by Bild. The railway company Deutsche Bahn announced that trains would be canceled on the main lines.

The German authorities remain on the alert in the face of the jihadist threat, particularly since a ram truck attack claimed by the Islamic State group which killed 12 people in December 2016 in Berlin. This jihadist attack is the deadliest ever committed on German soil.

Germany remains a target for jihadist groups, in particular because of its involvement in the coalition fighting the IS group in Iraq and Syria and in the one that had been deployed in Afghanistan after 2001.

Since 2013 and until the end of 2021, the number of Islamists considered dangerous in Germany has increased fivefold to currently stand at 615, according to the Interior Ministry. That of the Salafists is estimated at around 11,000, twice as many as in 2013.

After a warning from the FBI, the German authorities announced on January 8 the arrest of two Iranians suspected of having wanted to commit an “Islamist” chemical attack using ricin and cyanide.

Another threat hangs over Germany, embodied by the far right, after several deadly attacks in recent years targeting community or religious places.

While this latter phenomenon is of great concern to the authorities today, it is not totally new. Between 2000 and 2007, a neo-Nazi group called NSU had already murdered nine migrants and a policewoman. Two of its members committed suicide before their arrest and the third, a woman, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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