1 dead in Ham­burg mar­ket knife at­tack

Sus­pect known as rad­i­cal un­sta­ble

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

HAM­BURG (AFP) — The sus­pect who killed a man with a knife in a Ham­burg su­per­mar­ket was a known Is­lamist with psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems but his mo­tives re­main un­clear, Ger­man of­fi­cials said Satur­day.

Iden­ti­fied as a 26-year-old Palestinian, he ar­rived in Ger­many in 2015 from Nor­way but was due to be de­ported as his ap­pli­ca­tion for asy­lum was re­jected.

Fri­day’s as­sault risks re­open­ing a bit­ter de­bate over refugees two months be­fore gen­eral elec­tions, putting pres­sure on Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel over her de­ci­sion to open Ger­many’s borders in 2015 and let in more than a mil­lion asy­lum seek­ers.

Merkel ex­pressed her sym­pa­thies to vic­tims and their fam­i­lies and vowed that “the vi­o­lent act must be and will be clar­i­fied.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were still strug­gling to de­ter­mine the ex­act mo­tive for the as­sault, which left six peo­ple in­jured.

The sus­pect “was known as an Is­lamist but not a ji­hadist,” said the port city’s in­te­rior min­is­ter Andy Grote, not­ing “there are in­di­ca­tions of rad­i­cal­iza­tion.”

But Grote stressed that while there could have been an Is­lamist mo­tive, the sus­pect also suf­fered from “psy­cho­log­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity.”

“It re­mains un­clear which was the over­rid­ing el­e­ment,” he said.

The Palestinian sus­pect is be­ing held but has re­fused to speak about why he staged the at­tack, Nana From­bach, the spokes­woman for the lo­cal pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice said.

Ger­many’s in­te­rior min­is­ter Thomas de Maiziere also cau­tioned against jump­ing to con­clu­sions.

“The ji­hadist ide­ol­ogy could be used as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ac­tion that may ac­tu­ally be mo­ti­vated by other rea­sons,” he said, adding that “the real mo­tives could per­haps lie in the per­son­al­ity of the per­pe­tra­tor.”

The at­tacker had en­tered the su­per­mar­ket and taken a kitchen knife from the shelves.

“He ripped off the pack­ag­ing and then sud­denly bru­tally at­tacked a 50-year-old man who later died,” said deputy po­lice chief Kathrin Hen­nings.

He later wounded two more men in the su­per­mar­ket be­fore flee­ing, hurt­ing four other peo­ple along the way, be­fore he was over­pow­ered by coura­geous passers-by.

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