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German prosecutors say Islamist motive possible in train knife attack

27-year-old suspect who wounded four people earlier this month had Islamic State propaganda videos on his phone, allege prosecutors in the case

German police and rescue workers walk with a detained man, on November 6, 2021, in Seubersdorf, southern Germany, after several people were wounded in a knife attack on a high-speed train. (Fabian Schreiner/dpa/AFP)
German police and rescue workers walk with a detained man, on November 6, 2021, in Seubersdorf, southern Germany, after several people were wounded in a knife attack on a high-speed train. (Fabian Schreiner/dpa/AFP)

BERLIN — A Syrian man accused of injuring four people in a knife attack on a German train earlier this month may have had Islamist motives, prosecutors said in a statement.

“An Islamist background to the crime cannot be ruled out,” the prosecutors in Munich said in a statement published late Tuesday of the incident, after investigators initially said there were no indications of such a motive.

“Indications pointing in this direction include the contents of the defendant’s Facebook account and propaganda videos of the terrorist organization Islamic State found on him,” they said.

The case has been handed to the Bavarian police’s anti-terrorism unit which is continuing to evaluate documents and data carriers seized from the suspect, they said.

The 27-year-old suspect is believed to have acted alone in the assault on a high-speed train between the Bavarian cities of Regensburg and Nuremberg on November 6.

He was arrested and taken into psychiatric care, with an initial assessment suggesting he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was most likely not criminally responsible for his actions.

An ICE high-speed train is seen at the train station of Seubersdorf, southern Germany, on November 6, 2021, after several people were wounded in a knife attack on the train. (dpa/AFP)

Prosecutors have accused him of attempted murder, attempted manslaughter and grievous bodily harm.

Germany remains on high alert for terror attacks from Islamists and far-right extremists after a series of deadly incidents in recent years.

Last May, a Syrian jihadist was given a life sentence for stabbing a German man to death and severely wounding his partner in a homophobic attack in the eastern city of Dresden.

In June, a Somali man fatally stabbed three women in the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg.

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