Police probe Berlin knife attacker for Islamist motive
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Police probe Berlin knife attacker for Islamist motive

'Deranged' Syrian, 23, attacked several people on New Year's Eve 'for no apparent reason,' witnesses say

Illustrative: Policewomen patrol at the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz near the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) in Berlin one day ahead of the anniversary of last year's deadly truck attack in Berlin, on December 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)
Illustrative: Policewomen patrol at the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz near the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) in Berlin one day ahead of the anniversary of last year's deadly truck attack in Berlin, on December 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

Berlin police said Tuesday they were unable to rule out an Islamist background after a “deranged” Syrian knifeman was arrested over an attack in one of the German capital’s underground stations.

Witnesses said the 23-year-old, identified as Ahmad Al-H., attacked several people with a knife “for no apparent reason” at the Bayerischer Platz station in southwestern Berlin on New Year’s Eve, according to a police report.

But the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported that he had asked one 50-year-old German man his nationality and called him an “infidel” before stabbing him.

The man suffered a light injury but declined medical treatment, police said.

Other people attacked by the knife wielder including a mother with a young child escaped unharmed, according to Tagesspiegel.

Police said only that the attacker — who the paper reported was known to officers after being involved in several brawls — “seemed deranged” when they arrested him in response to emergency calls.

Following the arrest, officers brought the knifeman to a clinic and had him examined by a psychiatrist.

“We can’t confirm or deny (the reports), we are checking whether there may be an Islamist background,” a police spokesman told AFP.

The investigation has been passed to a unit which deals with politically motivated crimes, according to the police report.

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