Police rule out terrorism after knife attack on German express train

German train attacker said to suffer from psychological problems
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Berlin (dpa) – Investigators do not consider the knife attack on passengers on a high-speed train in Bavaria as an act of terrorism.

There are “no indications of an Islamist background,” Sabine Nagel, director of the criminal investigation, said at a press conference in the town of Neumarkt in the Upper Palatinate region of the southern German state on Sunday. 

In addition, there are no indications that the 27-year-old suspect had accomplices or confidants. 

An expert witness assumes that the man suffers from “paranoid schizophrenia” and has delusional ideas, said Gerhard Neuhof, senior public prosecutor. 

At the request of the public prosecutor’s office, the alleged perpetrator will be placed in a psychiatric hospital.

The man with Syrian citizenship is alleged to have attacked fellow passengers indiscriminately on the Passau-Hamburg Intercity Express (ICE) on Saturday. Four men were injured. 

Shortly after the city of Regensburg, the alleged perpetrator abruptly attacked a 26-year-old man in carriage 5 and seriously injured his head, said police vice-president Thomas Schoeniger. 

He then inflicted cuts on the head and torso of a 60-year-old passenger and injuries on another 60-year-old man. He then stabbed a 39-year-old man in the body in carriage 4. 

The two younger victims were still in hospital at noon on Sunday, Schoeniger said.

After the train stopped, patrol officers entered the train and ordered the alleged suspect to the ground at gunpoint, Schoeniger said. 

He then allowed himself to be arrested without resistance. In his trousers he had a bloodstained folding knife with a blade length of 8 centimetres.

Police chief Norbert Zink thanked travellers “who tried to stop the suspect from further actions.” 

The suspect, who entered Germany in 2014 and was born in Syria, had lost his job one day before the crime, according to information from the police.

Shortly after 9 am (0800 GMT) on Saturday, emergency calls had been received by police and rescue services. 

The ICE had made an unscheduled stop halfway between Regensburg and Nuremberg at the small station of Seubersdorf near Neumarkt in Upper Palatinate. 

Because the situation was initially completely unclear, a large number of police officers arrived and cleared the train. 

According to the Red Cross, about 200 passengers were cared for and fed in an inn until late afternoon. 

The ICE line between Regensburg and Nuremberg was not reopened until the evening.

An expert examined the 27-year-old and came to the conclusion that he was suffering from delusions and that the accused’s “culpability was suspended at the time of the crime,” said public prosecutor Neuhof.

The accused would be placed in the Regensburg district hospital.

The 27-year-old had told the expert that he felt persecuted by the police: They were sending men to drive him crazy. He had felt threatened by the 26-year-old passenger on the train and “thought that this man wanted to kill him.” 

He then stabbed him severely in the head. According to his own statement, he then committed the other acts “as if in a dream,” Neuhof said. “So he did not deny the acts.” 

He is being investigated for attempted murder.

dpa

Photo Police and emergency services in Seubersdorf In Der Oberpfalz, between Regensburg and Nuremberg, Germany, 06 November 2021. According to Police, several people are injured after a man with a knife attacked passengers on an ICE train in Bavaria. Police arrested the attacker shortly thereafter. EPA-EFE/NEWS5/ BAUERNFEIND

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