A Palestinian asylum seeker has been arrested for stabbing two passengers to death on a regional train in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Another victim is reportedly close to death, while several other individuals were injured.
“A traveler stabbed passengers from Kiel to Hamburg on the regional express, injuring at least five people and killing two people,” a police spokesman told Bild newspaper.
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The perpetrator was committed to a psychiatric hospital and will not be kept in custody for the time being
Witnesses to the attack reportedly tackled the man while he was stabbing various victims, pinning him to the ground until police arrived while the train was traveling between Neumünster and Hamburg. The 33-year-old suspect is currently in the hospital with injuries.
Authorities say a preliminary check indicates the man is not on any terror watch lists, but police report the man has a violent background including a variety of sexual offenses. He was apparently in police custody just a few days ago before the stabbing spree.
A woman from Bad Bramstedt was waiting for her 18-year-old daughter, a student at Kiel University, to arrive at the train station. Her daughter saw the attack unfold.
“She saw a person stab someone four rows in front of her,” the mother said. Speaking to DPA, the mother says her daughter is currently unable to speak but wrote down what she saw. She was not injured in the attack but was waiting at the scene to make a statement to the police.
“I think she’s doing badly. What kind of people do that?” asked the mother.
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A psychiatric assessment revealed that the perpetrator was aware of his actions when carrying out the attack
“Schleswig-Holstein is mourning, it’s a terrible day,” said Schleswig-Holstein Prime Minister Daniel Günther.
“It’s terrible,” said Kiel Interior Minister Sabine Sütterlin-Waack (CDU). “We are shocked and appalled that something like this has happened. For me, it is clear that the horrific act is directed against all humanity.”
Wave of stabbing attacks
Germany has suffered a large number of migrant knife attacks in the past years. In fact, the country saw an average of 50 knife attacks every day in 2022, with a large number of perpetrators being from a migrant background.
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The attacker arrived in Germany in 2014 and reportedly lost his job the day before his stabbing spree
Last month, two German schoolgirls were stabbed randomly by an Eritrean migrant, resulting in one death. Two months before, a migrant from Jordan stabbed a Ukrainian refugee woman.
In June, an Afghan national brutally stabbed a woman by ramming a knife into her head at a bus stop in Hamburg.
Many of these assaults occur on public transportation. Last month, two Nigerians beat a German train conductor unconscious in Essen. Two months ago, a ticket inspector was stabbed by a Syrian migrant in Dresden. In May of last year, an Iraqi man on a terror watch list went on a stabbing spree that injured five Germans on a regional train in Aachen.
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In November last year, a Syrian migrant stabbed four people on a high-speed ICE train on the way to Hamburg in an act that prosecutors say was motivated by Islamic terrorism.
A number of attacks that appeared to have an Islamic motive ended with the attacker being admitted to a psychiatric ward, such as an Iraqi asylum seeker who began praying on a prayer mat and shouting “Allahu Akbar” after ramming motorcyclists on Berlin’s Autobahn in April 2021. In that same year, a Somali man stabbed and killed three German women, one in front of her 11-year-old daughter, but was also admitted to a psychiatric ward despite the man telling investigators he performed the attack to achieve jihad.
Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has labeled “right-wing extremism” the “biggest threat to the country.” Critics say she is ignoring the disproportionate amount of violence committed by foreigners for political reasons.