German train attacker vowed revenge on ‘infidels’

A 17-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker received word that a friend had died in his home country days before he went on a rampage with an axe and knife on a German train, wounding five. 

He vowed in a note that he would “take revenge on these infidels,” said German investigators yesterday.

Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the Monday night attack, but authorities say so far they have found no direct links to the group and believe the suspect, whose name was not released, self-radicalised.

But IS later posted a video in which a young man, whom it identifies as the Afghan refugee, wields a knife. He says he will use it to slaughter infidels and avenge the deaths of men, women, and children in Muslim countries. It was not immediately possible to verify that the man in the video was the train attacker.

German officials did not identify the victims, but Hong Kong’s immigration department said that among those injured were four members of a family of five from the southern Chinese city. 

At least two were in a life-threatening condition.

Investigator Lothar Koehler said the teenager’s motivation appeared to be Islamic extremism based upon a passage, found among various notes in his apartment, which read: “Pray for me that I can take revenge on these infidels and pray for me that I will go to heaven.”

The suspect boarded the train after 9pm near the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg with an axe and knife concealed in a bag, according to Bamberg prosecutor Erik Ohlenschlager.

On the train, he initially encountered an employee from the asylum shelter where he had lived until two weeks ago when he moved in with a foster family, and when she said something to him he did not respond but left for another train car. He then hid in a bathroom and armed himself.

“Then, without warning, he attacked the passengers using great force on their bodies and their heads,” Mr Ohlenschlager said.

In an emergency call from the train, the suspect could be heard shouting “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” as he hacked and slashed. Witnesses said the interior of the train looked “like a slaughterhouse”, news agency dpa reported. About 30 passengers were on the train. More than a dozen were treated for shock.

After the train made an emergency stop, the suspect fled and a few hundred metres away encountered two women walking a dog. He attacked one from behind, saying “I’ll finish you” and hit her at least twice in the face with the axe. Shortly after, he encountered a SWAT team, jumping out at them from bushes brandishing his axe. He was shot and killed.

Mr Ohlenschlager said at least two victims were suffering from “acute life-threatening” wounds, including the woman attacked outside the train.


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