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Boston Herald July 19, 2016

Afghan attacks German train passengers

4 injured as assailant shot

By O’Ryan Johnson

A teenage Afghan migrant armed with an ax and a knife slashed passengers aboard a regional train in southern Germany yesterday night, injuring four people before he was shot and killed by police as he fled, authorities said.

Bavaria’s top security official, state Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, said authorities were still investigating the motive of the attack and were looking into reports that the suspect had yelled out “an exclamation” during the rampage. Herrmann was responding to reports that some witnesses had heard the suspect shout ?“Allahu akbar” during the attack.

“He suddenly attacked passengers with a knife and an ax, critically injuring several. Some of them may now be fighting for their lives,” Herrmann said.

After the attack, the boy tried to flee. A police special operations unit, which happened to be nearby at the time of the incident, pursued the suspect, who was shot dead when he tried to attack the officers.

Based on witness accounts, police believe the boy acted alone, Herrmann said. Wuerzburg police said three victims suffered serious injuries and one was slightly injured. Another 14 people were being treated for shock.

Germany last year registered more than 1 million migrants entering the country, including more than 150,000 Afghans, but it was not immediately clear whether the suspect was among them or someone who had been in the country for a longer time.

Herrmann said initial information was that the suspect came to Germany as an unaccompanied minor and had lived in the Wuerzburg area for some time, initially at a refugee facility in the town of Ochsenfurt and more ?recently with a foster family.

Europe, swamped with Middle Eastern refugees and migrants, has been rocked by repeated terrorist attacks that have killed dozens of people in France and Belgium — most recently when a French-Tunisian national shot and ran down Bastille Day revelers with a truck in Nice, France.

Germany has already been hit by two stabbing attacks by possible Islamic extremists this year.

In May, a man in Grafing allegedly shouted “Allahu akbar” while attacking four people with a knife, killing one of them. That man was sent to a psychiatric hospital and authorities said they found no links to terrorist groups.

Authorities have said a 15-year-old girl who attacked a police officer in a Hanover train station, stabbing him in the neck with a kitchen knife, was inspired by ?Islamic State internet propaganda.

“In this wired culture no one is independent of these influences,” Brandeis University terrorism expert Jerry Cohen said. “That is the climate in which these attacks are taking place. They have the power to command people who are willing to go to their death in the name of something larger than themselves.”

John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org said the latest attack looks more like the work of a lone madman, rather than organized international terror groups.

“There’s always demented people,” he said.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.


Copyright 2016, Boston Herald