Hamburg stabbings suspect was known Islamic radical and mentally unstable

Hamburg stabbings suspect was known Islamic radical and mentally unstable

A Palestinian man who allegedly stabbed one person to death and injured six others in Hamburg was known to German authorities as a suspected Islamic radical but was also psychologically unstable, officials said.

The suspect, a 26-year-old who had no identity papers other than a birth certificate showing he was born in the United Arab Emirates, was quickly overwhelmed by passers-by and arrested after Friday's attack at a supermarket in Hamburg's Barmbek district.

He was not named by authorities, in keeping with Germany privacy laws.

The man's motive remained unclear on Saturday, but he is believed to have acted alone and there are no indications that he had links to any network, Hamburg state interior minister Andy Grote said.

Police said the suspect grabbed a kitchen knife with an 8in blade from a shelf at the supermarket on Friday afternoon and stabbed three men, one of them fatally.

He then left the shop and injured another three people outside, not all of them with the knife. Passers-by then pursued and overwhelmed the suspect, who was arrested by police.

Mr Grote said none of the wounded suffered injuries considered to be life-threatening, though some were seriously hurt.

The man arrived in Germany in March 2015 after stops in Spain, Sweden and Norway. His request for asylum was rejected late last year and authorities were trying to secure new Palestinian papers to deport him - a process in which they said he had co-operated.

Officials said he was on their radar as a suspected Islamic radical, but not as a "jihadist".

A friend had tipped off authorities about changes in the man's behaviour, telling them he had stopped drinking alcohol and started talking about the Koran, said Torsten Voss, head of the Hamburg branch of the domestic intelligence agency.

Officials interviewed the man and came away with the impression that he was a "destabilised personality" but not someone who posed an immediate danger, Mr Voss said.

"We evaluated him rather as someone who was psychologically unstable than had clear Islamic extremist motivations," he told a news conference. Authorities are not aware of any connections to Hamburg's Islamic extremist scene.

A search of the man's room at a centre for asylum-seekers turned up no weapons or weapon-like objects, prosecutors said.

The suspect has not yet talked about Friday's attack, prosecutor Joerg Froehlich said, though he has indicated that he acted alone.

Mr Froehlich said authorities intend to ask that he be held in custody on suspicion of murder and five counts of attempted murder, but may seek to have him held at a psychiatric unit instead.


More in this Section

David Cameron gives his backing to Boris Johnson’s Brexit dealDavid Cameron gives his backing to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Mars lander’s digger is burrowing again after setbackMars lander’s digger is burrowing again after setback

White House: Ukraine aid held up amid Trump push for investigation of DemocratsWhite House: Ukraine aid held up amid Trump push for investigation of Democrats

Briton could be stranded in Cyprus for months after rape claim trial adjournedBriton could be stranded in Cyprus for months after rape claim trial adjourned


Leopard print midi dresses and sequins swirled beneath glossy goddess hair and golden headbands as the great and the good of Cork gathered for ieStyle Live.Leopard print and sequins to the fore at inaugural #IEStyleLive event

You have a long half-term break ahead of you all, and there’s only so much screen time anyone in the family can handle. Everyone is going to need a book-break at some point or another.We reviewed some of the best new books to keep kids entertained over half-term

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

More From The Irish Examiner