Monday 19 February 2018

Isis video shows Afghan teen (17) behind Germany train axe attack

A still from a video Isil posted yesterday, in which a man whom it identifies as the Afghan refugee who attacked passengers with an axe on a train in Germany vows to carry out a suicide mission. REUTERS
A still from a video Isil posted yesterday, in which a man whom it identifies as the Afghan refugee who attacked passengers with an axe on a train in Germany vows to carry out a suicide mission. REUTERS

Justin Huggler

A purported video of the teenage Afghan refugee who attacked passengers on a German train with an axe has emerged.

Isil yesterday released what it claimed was a video of the 17-year-old in which he threatens to carry out a suicide attack in Germany.

The teen was shot dead by police after he injured five people in the attack on Monday night. One is still in critical condition.

Isil named the attacker as Mohammed Riyad. His identity has not been officially released in Germany, but local media have named him as Riaz A.

"I am a soldier of the Caliphate. I will carry out a martyr attack in Germany. The time has come," he says in the alleged video released by Isil's Amaq online news agency.

Holding a knife in his hand, he claims the attack is revenge against the international anti-Isil coalition.

"The soldiers of the caliphate will come to you. You will be slaughtered in your homelands, in your houses, in your countries," he says. "Know that the Islamic State is powerful. And it will target your parliaments."

Witnesses described hearing the teen shouting "Allahu akbar" as he attacked passengers with an axe on a regional train in the suburbs of Würzburg on Monday night.

Three passengers were seriously wounded and a fourth received light injuries. All four are believed to be members of a single family of Chinese tourists.

One was still in critical condition yesterday, according to Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian state interior minister.

The Afghan, who was also armed with a knife, escaped from the train at the Heidingsfeld stop and fled into the surrounding streets, where he attacked and lightly injured a passer-by.

Police officers who were nearby were alerted and shot him dead. "They had clear orders to do whatever was necessary to stop the perpetrator," Mr Herrmann said.

The video emerged after police found a homemade Isil flag and what appeared to be a farewell letter to the boy's father in his room at a German foster family's home. German authorities said they believed the teen may have "self-radicalised" while living in the country.

The discrepancy over the boy's name was unclear. Many Afghans have several names and it is possible both versions are correct and part of a longer full name, with Riyad and Riaz variant spellings.

The 17-year-old arrived in Germany over a year ago and was granted asylum as an unaccompanied minor, and it is not thought likely that he was an Isil sleeper.

The letter found in his room was in his native Pashto and had not been fully translated yet, but appeared to show signs of radicalisation, Mr Herrmann told reporters.

Read more: Axe-wielding teenager who attacked passengers on German train 'had hand-painted Isis flag in bedroom'

Lone wolf

Police have so far been unable to uncover any links between the boy and Isil or other Islamic extremists, and believe he was a "lone wolf" attacker, Mr Herrmann said.

Germany is now trying to come to terms with how a teenage refugee who lived in the country for more than a year and showed no previous signs of Islamic extremism could have become so dramatically radicalised.

The boy moved in with a new foster family near Würzburg just two weeks ago. He previously lived in a home for teenage refugees in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt.

Local people said he had shown no signs of extremism. "He seemed to be in no way radical or fanatical," one told 'Spiegel' magazine's website.

Meanwhile, a French woman and her three young daughters were severely injured when they were stabbed at a holiday resort yesterday by a Moroccan-born man.

The man was arrested after the attack at the Alpine resort of Garde-Colombe, near Laragne, in southern France.

The youngest girl, aged 8, was rushed to hospital in Grenoble with a punctured lung, according to initial reports.

Her mother (46), and sisters aged 12 and 14, were being treated at the hospital of Gap, closer to the scene of the attack. Their injuries are serious but not life-threatening, hospital sources said.

Initial reports claimed the man struck because he was angered by the women being "scantily dressed" but a local prosecutor has denied this.

Raphaël Balland, prosecutor of Gap, said: "I wanted to quash the rumour currently doing the rounds because on no account did this man make such comments about the fact that the attack may have been motivated by the victims' dress code."

The attacker, named as Mohamed B (37), "may have acted out of religious motives", French television channel TF1 reported.

Despite the prosecutor's denial, TF1 reported that he was angry that the girls were wearing shorts.

The mother had helped the attacker when he became ill the previous day, TF1 said.

He stabbed the girls while they breakfasted on the terrace of their chalet and then went inside and knifed their mother in the chest. The attack took place around 10am.

The local mayor, Edmond Francou, said he preferred "not to speculate about the motive of the attack" in the wake of the massacre in Nice last week.

The Moroccan-born attacker has a police record for petty crimes over the past 15 years.

He is reported to have been on holiday at the resort with his pregnant wife and two children.

The two families were staying next to each other and the assailant's wife is "devastated", according to the mayor.

The victims of the attack are from Nantes, in western France, and often holidayed at the resort. The attacker is from the Paris area.

Shocked holidaymakers were receiving counselling at the resort.

Irish Independent

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