A radical Islamist already under watch by German security officials after expressing jihadi views, grabbed a 20-centimeter (nearly 8-inch) long kitchen knife at a supermarket in the Barmbeck district of Hamburg on Friday, and launched a terror attack.
The 26-year-old attacker stabbed one man to death, wounded two more men in the store and then proceeded to attack four other people on the street. Not all were stabbed.
Several international media reported the man shouted “Allahu Akbar” – the jihadist war cry, ‘God is great’ in Arabic – during the attack. Video filmed by those in the area showed young men hurling chairs at the attacker to stop him, CNN reported.
The attacker was tackled by people in the street and held for police. One woman was treated for scratches and shock.
Authorities said he was known to investigators as an Islamist and considered to be “psychologically unstable” but did not appear to have any formal links to terror organizations.
According to Times of India he had no identity papers other than a birth certificate showing he was born in the United Arab Emirates. He arrived in Germany in March 2015, after stops in Spain, Sweden and Norway.
His request for asylum had been rejected late last year, and authorities were working on papers for deportation. They said he was cooperating, and that he was on the radar as an Islamic radical, but not as a “jihadist.”
Hamburg Interior Minister Andy Grote told reporters at a news conference on Saturday, “We are shaken, horrified.”
Torsten Voss, head of the Hamburg branch of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, said a tip was received about changes in the suspect’s personality, that he had stopped drinking alcohol and started talking about the Qur’an. A search of his room at the center for asylum seekers showed no weapons. Authorities will ask to extend his remand on suspicion of murder, and five counts of attempted murder.