BERLIN — Several people were injured in an assault by a man wielding a knife on a bus in northern Germany, police and witnesses said Friday.
The packed bus was heading in the direction of Travemuende, a popular beach close to the city of Luebeck, when a man pulled a weapon on passengers, local media Luebecker Nachrichten reported, quoting an unnamed witness.
Police quoted by national news agency DPA said there were no fatalities, and did not give a motive for the assault.
According to Luebecker Nachrichten, the attacker was an Iranian man in his mid-30s.
While neither the motive nor full identity of the perpetrator have been established, Germany has been on high alert after several deadly Islamist extremist attacks.
The bus driver immediately stopped the vehicle, allowing passengers to escape, the daily said on its website.
“The passengers jumped out of the bus and were screaming. It was terrible. Then the injured were brought out. The perpetrator had a kitchen knife,” a witness who lives close to the scene, Lothar H., told the daily.
A police car which happened to be close by was able to get to the scene quickly, allowing officers to detain the perpetrator, added the report.
Jihadist attack risk
Germany had long warned of the threat of more violence after several terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, the bloodiest of which was a truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that left 12 people dead.
The attacker, Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri, hijacked a truck and murdered its Polish driver before killing another 11 people and wounding dozens more by ploughing the heavy vehicle through the festive market in central Berlin.
He was shot dead by Italian police in Milan four days later while on the run.
Germany has since been targeted again in attacks with radical Islamist motives.
In July 2017, a 26-year-old Palestinian asylum seeker wielding a knife stormed into a supermarket in the northern port city of Hamburg, killing one person and wounding six others before being detained by passers-by.
German prosecutors said the man likely had a “radical Islamist” motive.
The IS also claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in 2016, including the murder of a teenager in Hamburg, a suicide bombing in the southern city of Ansbach that wounded 15, and an ax attack on a train in Bavaria that left five injured.
In June 2018, German police said they foiled what would have been the first biological attack with the arrest of a Tunisian suspected terrorist in possession of the deal poison ricin and bomb-making material.
Germany’s security services estimate there are around 11,000 Islamic radicals in Germany, some 980 who are deemed particularly dangerous and capable of using violence. A hundred and fifty of these potentially dangerous individuals have been detained for various offences.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has allowed in more than one million asylum seekers since 2015 — a decision that has driven the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which charges that the influx spells a heightened security risk.