Prosecutors: Hamburg attacker hoped to die as ‘martyr’
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Prosecutors: Hamburg attacker hoped to die as ‘martyr’

German authorities say Palestinian man had radical Islamic motive for stabbing, but likely not part of terror group

Hamburg's Interior Minister Andy Grote (L) and Hamburg's police president Ralf Martin Meyer give a press conference on July 29, 2017, in Hamburg, Germany. (AFP Photo/dpa/Markus Scholz)
Hamburg's Interior Minister Andy Grote (L) and Hamburg's police president Ralf Martin Meyer give a press conference on July 29, 2017, in Hamburg, Germany. (AFP Photo/dpa/Markus Scholz)

BERLIN (AP) — The Palestinian man who fatally stabbed one person and wounded six others at a Hamburg supermarket appears to have radicalized himself and says he decided to commit an attack in hopes of dying a “martyr,” German prosecutors said Monday.

Federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases in Germany, said they were taking over the investigation of the suspect, identified only as Ahmad A. in line with German privacy rules.

They said there’s no evidence that he carried out Friday’s attack as a member of the Islamic State terror group or any other terror organization, or that he was in contact with or under the influence of a member of any terror group at the time. There’s also no evidence that other people were involved.

Prosecutors said that the investigation has pointed to a likely Islamic radical motive, and indicates that Ahmad A. radicalized himself.

Police cordon off the area around a supermarket in the German city of Hamburg, where a man killed one person and wounded several others in a stabbing attack on July 28, 2017 . (AFP Photo/dpa/Paul Weidenbaum)
Police cordon off the area around a supermarket in the German city of Hamburg, where a man killed one person and wounded several others in a stabbing attack on July 28, 2017 . (AFP Photo/dpa/Paul Weidenbaum)

He has told investigators that he had been considering Islamic radical issues for some time and decided two days before the attack to live “a corresponding way of life,” they added.

They said “on the day of the act itself, he consequently decided to commit an attack, linked with the hope of dying as a martyr.”

The suspect carried out the attack with a kitchen knife he grabbed from a supermarket shelf. He was then overcome by passersby and arrested, and is in custody on suspicion of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

Ahmad A., a 26-year-old who was born in the United Arab Emirates, had had his asylum application rejected and was cooperating with authorities in efforts to secure new identity papers so that he could be deported.

Officials have said that he was known to authorities as a suspected Islamic radical but not as a “jihadist.” They also considered him psychologically unstable but didn’t conclude that he posed any immediate danger.

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