German train passengers overpower knife attacker

An off-duty police officer and two other passengers on a regional train in Germany overpowered an Iraqi-born man on Friday who wounded five people, including the officer, with a knife, authorities said.

A senior law enforcement official said the 31-year-old attacker had been investigated for possible Islamic extremism while living in a refugee shelter in 2017, but a motive for the train attack had not been determined.

Four of the injured were treated at hospital for injuries to their hands or face and head, while one victim had been stabbed in the shoulder blade. None was in danger of death. The attacker was also injured and was taken to a clinic.

Three passengers on a regional train in Germany overpowered an Iraqi-born man who wounded five people with a knife on Friday, authorities said. (Ralf Roeger/dpa via AP)

The train had just left Herzogenrath station, near the Dutch border, and was headed for the western German city of Aachen at 7:42 a.m. local time when the man began to attack other passengers “randomly and arbitrarily,” said the state’s interior minister, Herbert Reul. saying.

He praised the courage of the 60-year-old off-duty officer and the passengers who had “averted worse damage”.

He described the attack as “a shocking crime that was stopped in an enormous act of bravery.”

Police officers take the suspected perpetrator away in Herzogenrath, Germany, on Friday, May 13, 2022.
Police officers take the suspected perpetrator away in Herzogenrath, Germany, on Friday, May 13, 2022. (Ralf Roeger/dpa via AP)

The motive for the attack was under investigation. Authorities were investigating the possibility of an extremist motive but had not confirmed it, Reul said. About 200 officers were deployed to secure evidence at the scene and care for victims.

Reul said the man had undergone a police check for possible Islamic extremism after the refugee shelter where the man lived reported that he had grown a beard, changed his behavior and isolated himself from his fellow residents. He had no further contact with the police.

He said investigators were looking into the extent to which an Islamist motive might have been involved.

The man’s current citizenship could not be immediately determined, he said.

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