Tuesday 21 November 2017

Police probe Islamist link to stab death of train passenger

Police officers look for evidence at the train station after an attack in Grafing, southeast of Munich, Germany
Police officers look for evidence at the train station after an attack in Grafing, southeast of Munich, Germany

Justin Huggler in Munich

ONE person was killed yesterday and three more were seriously injured in a stabbing just outside Munich, during which the attacker reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar".

But Bavaria's top security official said investigators have no indications the suspect in the stabbing at a train station had an Islamic extremist motive.

State interior minister Joachim Herrmann said after a Cabinet meeting in Munich that the 27-year-old had confessed to carrying out the attack. A German man was arrested.

The attacker made "politically motivated comments", said Ken Heidenreich, spokesman for the Munich prosecutor's office.

He said investigators had no indication so far that there was an Islamic extremist motive, though they were still looking at whether there was a political background.

Reports have emerged that the attacker may have been a drug addict and suffered from psychiatric issues.

He was undergoing treatment for his addiction and police have reportedly found traces of drugs in a container at the scene. Although the attacker has yet to be officially identified, German news reports are now naming him as Paul H (27), a resident of the town of Giessen in the central German state of Hesse. He does not appear to have an immigrant background.

"He's German. That's all we know," said Angelika Obermayr, the local mayor.

According to reports, he was barefoot at the time of the attack and the bloody footprints seen in pictures of the station are his.

The attack appears to have begun inside a train while it was standing at the station in the town of Grafing. The first victim was a 50-year-old passenger on the train, who later died of his wounds in hospital.

The attacker then ran out of the train onto the platform.

"I'll stab you all," he shouted, according to eyewitnesses, as well as "You infidels!" and "Allahu Akbar!"

One witness said the train driver intervened at one point, and tried to beat the man with a fire extinguisher.

Prosecutors say they have "no concrete information" that the man had any connections to Islamic extremists, and there is no evidence of any link to Isil.

One of the injured was still in critical condition yesterday evening, according to the Bavarian authorities.

Ms Obermayr said "something like this is absolutely new and shakes people deeply - otherwise, they only know this kind of thing from television."

She added: "That it could happen here is absolutely stupefying."

She described Grafing as "an absolutely peaceful little Bavarian town".

The attack follows a number of recent terror alerts across Germany.

Police sealed off central Munich's main train station and another suburban station just before midnight on New Year's Eve, saying they had received information about a concrete threat.

Little has emerged about that incident, and it remains unclear whether the police action foiled an imminent attack that night.

Almost five months later, no arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified.

In a similar incident in Hannover last November, an international football match against the Netherlands was called off 90 minutes before kick-off, after security forces reportedly received a tip-off about a plot to detonate multiple bombs inside the stadium.

The match had been billed as a gesture of defiance against the Paris attacks, and Angela Merkel was due to attend.

Again, no arrests have been made, and no suspects have been named. (© Daily Telegraph London)


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