Knife attack in train: Attacker is a repeat offender

A man killed two people with a knife in northern Germany and seriously injured others. The police were able to arrest him. The alleged perpetrator is a stateless Palestinian.

Investigators found traces of blood in a total of four wagons.

Jonas Walzberg / DPA

Two people were killed and at least seven injured, three of them seriously, in a knife attack on the regional express 70 from Kiel to Hamburg on Wednesday afternoon. The two victims are a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman who knew each other. The condition and the severity of the injuries of the other victims were still unclear in the morning. Dozens of people witnessed the crime, brave passengers probably prevented worse.

According to official information, the alleged perpetrator is a stateless Palestinian aged 33. According to the police, he suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital. He has already left medical treatment and is now in police custody, it said. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

The alleged perpetrator Ibrahim A. was still in a Hamburg correctional facility until January 19. The reason was an assault, said the police department in Itzehoe and Schleswig-Holstein’s Interior Minister Sabine Sütterlin-Waack. According to a report by “Spiegel”, the man is said to have stabbed and life-threateningly injured a man in line in front of a food counter in Hamburg in 2022. According to his own statement, he is said to have committed the act under the influence of drugs. In addition, the report by the “Spiegel” states that he was released after a year in custody, since the duration of the detention is said to have almost covered the sentence imposed. Further detention was therefore rated as “disproportionate”.

Ibrahim A. is known to the police for sexual and violent offenses and, according to the North German Broadcasting Corporation (NDR), has several previous convictions. He came to Germany in 2014. The country from which he came was not communicated at a police press conference on Thursday. According to the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Social Affairs, Ibrahim A. was not “enforceably obliged to leave the country”.

The crime happened just before 3 p.m. before the train arrived at Brokstedt station in the Steinburg district. According to consistent media information, a man on the train rushed at other passengers and stabbed them.

After police received several calls from passengers, the train was stopped. Witnesses were able to overwhelm the attacker on the train immediately after the crime, before he was arrested by the Federal Police on the platform. He did not resist arrest. The DPA news agency reported that, according to police, he made a mentally confused impression when he was arrested.

Motive still unclear

At the time of the attack, around 120 people were on the train, according to a police spokeswoman in Itzehoe. “It must have been a very big mess.” About 70 witnesses were questioned and cared for by the police at a nearby inn.

Nothing is known about the attacker’s motive. According to the Itzehoe public prosecutor, there is no evidence of a terrorist background to the crime.

Sütterlin-Waack traveled to Brokstedt that evening. ‘It’s very terrible. We are all completely shocked and appalled that something like this happened, »she told the NDR. The minister had received the message in the state parliament and consulted Prime Minister Daniel Günther.

Her thoughts are with the families and relatives of the victims and she thanks “the police officers who arrested the perpetrators and all the rescue workers who treated the injured,” said a statement from her ministry. Federal and state police worked closely together. “It is clear to me that the horrific act is directed against all humanity,” Sütterlin-Waack was quoted as saying in the message.

“We are all completely shocked and appalled that something like this happened”: Schleswig-Holstein’s Interior Minister Sabine Sütterlin-Waack after the fact at Brokstedt station.

Jonas Walzberg / DPA

Memories wake up

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister Günther also made statements in the evening. “All our thoughts are with the victims of this terrible act and their families,” tweeted Faeser, speaking of “shattering news.” Günther spoke of a terrible and senseless act that cost the lives of two people. “Schleswig-Holstein is mourning – it’s a terrible day,” said Günther in Kiel.

In November 2021, a similar act occurred on an ICE train between Regensburg and Nuremberg. A 27-year-old Syrian man stabbed several men indiscriminately, seriously injuring three of them. Initially, it was assumed that the man was mentally confused, but a further report confirmed that the man was culpable. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in December last year.

With agency material.

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