Egyptian teenager due in court this evening in connection with Dundalk attacks

Egyptian teenager due in court this evening in connection with Dundalk attacks
Yosuke Sasaki. Pic: Facebook

Update 6pm: An Egyptian man is due in court this evening charged in connection with yesterday’s attacks in Dundalk.

24-year-old Yosuke Sasaki was stabbed to death on Avenue Road.

Two other men were also attacked a short while later.

An 18-year-old Egyptian was arrested and has been questioned at Dundalk Garda Station.

He is now been charged and is due before a special sitting of Dundalk District Court within the hour.

Update 3.55pm: Attacks in which man died not linked to terrorism, say gardaí

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan extended his sympathies those killed or injured in a series of attacks in Dundalk which left one man dead and two others injured.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. I want to wish those who were injured a speedy recovery," he said.

Mr Flanagan praised the work of gardai involved in the incident and cautioned about people jumping to conclusions over the attacks.

Egyptian teenager due in court this evening in connection with Dundalk attacks

"There has, understandably, been speculation and concern about the motivation for this attack ... and would caution against drawing judgments until the gardai can establish the facts in the course of their investigation," he said.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president who represents Co Louth where the attacks took place, said: "I want to express my deep sense of shock at the brutal murder of Yosuke Sasaki in Dundalk and the wounding of two other citizens."

Mr Adams said he had sought answers from Mr Flanagan over what contact the arrested man had with the immigration service; what his status was; what steps gardai took after coming into contact with him; and whether all necessary steps were taken by state agencies who dealt with him.

Update 12.50pm: A series of attacks in Ireland which left one man dead and two others injured has not been linked to terrorism.

As detectives continued to question a teenage suspect over the random killing and assaults in Dundalk, Co Louth on Wednesday morning they said no terrorist link has been established.

The arrested man, aged 18 and from Egypt, was being interviewed while gardai liaise with counterparts in the UK and Cairo in a bid to establish the man's background.

"An Garda Siochana extends its sympathies to the families of the deceased person and our thoughts are with those injured," the force said in a statement.

"An Garda Siochana is currently liaising closely with our security and law enforcement partners worldwide to share and assess any relevant intelligence and its potential impact on the current investigation.

"At this time, we can find no established link to indicate that this tragedy is terrorist-related."

Following the man's arrest gardai said a number of lines of inquiry into the motive for the attacks were being investigated, including terrorism.

The dead man was Japanese, aged 24, and had been living in Ireland for a year.

He has been named as Yosuke Sasaki and is understood to have come from Ebina, west of Tokyo.

He worked in a call centre in Dundalk and it is believed he was targeted randomly on Avenue Road in Dundalk shortly before 9am on Wednesday as he made his way to the office.

Officials in the Japanese embassy in Dublin have been liaising with the dead man's family and have appealed for privacy.

In the second incident, an Irish man was injured when he was stabbed a short time later on Coes Road in Dundalk, near the scene of the first incident.

At 9.40am gardai received a report that another local man had been injured in an attack with a fence pole at Seatown Place.

The arrested man had come into contact with gardai in Dundalk on January 1 when inquiries about his immigration status were conducted.

It is believed he had applied for asylum in the Irish Republic.

Gardai can hold the arrested man until this evening when a decision will be made on whether to charge him or apply to have his period of detention extended.

Gardai said officers were liaising internationally with counterparts as the investigation develops.

It also noted that the threat level in Ireland from international terrorism remains unchanged and is classed as moderate, meaning an attack is possible but not likely.

"The level of threat remains under constant review by An Garda Siochana in consultation with the Defence Forces," it said.

"The public should be reassured that An Garda Siochana is committed to ensuring that the security of the state and our public areas remains a policing and security service priority."

Gardai urged people to remain vigilant and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Egyptian teenager due in court this evening in connection with Dundalk attacks

Update 10am: A teenager detained after a series of attacks in Ireland which left one man dead and two others injured remains in custody.

Detectives are continuing to question the suspect after the random killing and assaults in Dundalk, Co Louth on Wednesday morning.

The arrested man, aged 18 and from Egypt, was being interviewed while gardai liaise with counterparts in the UK and Cairo in a bid to establish the man's background.

Gardai have not established a definite motive for the violent spree in the Avenue Road area of the town at around 9am on Wednesday, but Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan said a potential terror link was being investigated.

The arrested man had come into contact with gardai in Dundalk on January 1 when inquiries about his immigration status were conducted.

It is believed he had applied for asylum in the Irish Republic.

The series of attacks started when a Japanese man, aged 24 and living in Ireland for the last year, was fatally stabbed on Avenue Road in the town shortly before 9am.

An Irish man was injured when he was stabbed a short time later on nearby Coes Road. At 9.40am gardai received a report that another local man was injured in an attack with a fence pole at Seatown Place.

Gardai can hold the arrested man until this evening when a decision will be made on whether to charge him or apply to have his period of detention extended.

Egyptian teenager due in court this evening in connection with Dundalk attacks

Earlier: Terror link probe in deadly knife spree

Technical examinations are being conducted on two mobile phones and at an abandoned house in a bid to determine the motivation behind a knife rampage by an Egyptian teenager in Dundalk that left a young Japanese man dead and two Irish men injured, writes Cormac O’Keeffe

Detectives, including specialist anti-terrorism officers, are trying to establish if there might be a jihadist motivation for the attack — which would be the first of its kind in the country.

Gardaí yesterday confirmed that a terror attack was a “line of inquiry”.

Sources stressed that there may be personal factors involved.

Detectives had to seek clearance from a doctor to interview the 18-year-old asylum seeker because he was in such a “highly agitated” state and was hitting himself.

Egyptian teenager due in court this evening in connection with Dundalk attacks

There are reports that he was shouting in Dundalk Garda Station about some “dishonour” he had brought to his family, thought to be in Britain, possibly regarding some relationship issue.

The teenager was disarmed and arrested by uniformed, and unarmed, gardaí at 9.45am yesterday after a spree that began at 9am, when he knifed a Japanese man, aged 24, in the back.

The victim was walking on Avenue Rd on his way to work at the time.

It is thought that the suspect was staying in an abandoned house nearby and may have gone back into it after the attack.

Egyptian teenager due in court this evening in connection with Dundalk attacks

Gardaí were alerted and arrived at the murder scene within seven minutes.

It is thought the suspect re-emerged from his house, possibly armed with a second knife and a wooden fence pole, and walked to Coes Rd, where, at 9.30am, he stabbed a local man.

Some 10 minutes later, on nearby Seatown Place, he assaulted another Irishman, aged 23, with the pole, inflicting head injuries.

The suspect was spotted by a uniformed garda and, after backup arrived, he was arrested at around 9.45am on Inner Relief Rd. It is understood he attempted to attack the gardaí with the pole, but they subdued him.

The Japanese man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Divisional officer, Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan yesterday said they had not yet established a motive and would not comment on the suspect’s “state of mind”.

He said the attacks appeared to be “random and unprovoked”.

He confirmed that terrorism was being investigated as a possible cause.

“A terror attack is a line of inquiry, it is certainly a line we would look at,” he said.

Specialist Garda sections from Crime and Security, including Counter Terrorism International and Security and Intelligence, are assisting gardaí in Dundalk.

CTI investigates jihadist terrorism and is part of the Special Detective Unit.

Security and Intelligence is the Garda’s intelligence-gathering arm and is the liaison section with international security services.

Egyptian teenager due in court this evening in connection with Dundalk attacks

Security sources told the Irish Examiner that if international terrorism is established as a motive, it would represent the first jihadist attack in Ireland.

Ireland’s current international terrorism threat assessment is moderate (the second of five levels), which means an attack is possible, but not likely.

Gardaí yesterday began the process of examining two mobile phones that were taken off the suspect.

Sources said these phones could be “critical” in helping to establish possible motivation for the attack and that gardaí will examine online and text communications for any clues. It would also enable investigators to establish who he had been in contact with.

Gardaí are conducting a technical examination of the abandoned house for any clues. They will also try and talk to the suspect’s family. If they are in the UK, this would be done through British police.

One security source said it was “very difficult to legislate” for an attack that involved knives or poles.

Chief Supt Mangan said there was a “Garda interaction” with the suspect for the first time on New Year’s Day.

He said this was in relation to his immigration “status” and not an interaction that would indicate he was going to be involved in any criminality.

He said their information was that the youth had either applied for asylum or was about to do so.

He said there would be an international dimension to their inquiries to establish “where this person came from and how he got to this jurisdiction”.

It is understood that after local gardaí in Dundalk asked the youth for his Garda National Immigration Bureau card on New Year’s Day, he was sent to Hatch Hall accommodation in Dublin city centre.

He must have travelled back to Dundalk and gardaí are investigating why.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.


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