Hui Min Neo, Agence France-Presse, June 25, 2021
A Somali man killed three people and left five others seriously injured in an “incredibly brutal” knife rampage in the southern German city of Wuerzburg.
The 24-year-old suspect staged the attack in the city centre at around 5 pm (1500 GMT), striking at a household goods store, before hitting a bank.
The man, who has lived in Wuerzburg since 2015, was overpowered after police shot him in the thigh, said Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann.
The rampage left “three dead, five seriously injured and others injured,” said Herrmann, adding, “it is not certain if the most seriously injured will survive”.
Investigators have found documentation showing the man “was treated in a psychiatric institution”, said Herrmann, but added that he could not detail the length of the stay.
“The police investigation will determine if this was an Islamist act or if it was due to the psychiatric state” of the man, he said.
A witness had reportedly said the suspect “shouted Allah Akbar” (God is greatest) during what rescuers described as a “really incredibly brutal” attack, said Herrmann.
Video footage circulating online also showed passers-by trying to stop the suspect using folded chairs.
BREAKING VIDEO: 2 people dead and multiple injured in stabbing attack at Barbarossaplatz in Wuerzburg, Germany. A man with a knife can be seen attacking people in the video:
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) June 25, 2021
While the perpetrator’s motive has not yet been established, Germany has been on high alert after several deadly Islamist extremist attacks.
Since 2009, German authorities have foiled 17 suspected jihadist attacks — the majority in 2016, according to the interior ministry.
The number of Islamists considered dangerous in Germany rose sharply between 2015 and 2018, according to security services.
But the numbers have declined since then, with 615 considered dangerous by the latest count compared with 730 in January 2018.
There are also 521 people “who have attracted the attention of the security services but have not yet reached the stage of being considered dangerous”.
In 2020, 320 new investigations with a link to the Islamist threat were launched in Germany.