Wuerzburg: The Islamic State group on Tuesday released a video purportedly featuring a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who went on an axe rampage on a German train, injuring five people, two critically.
The video showed teenager “Mohammed Riyadh”—knife in hand—announcing in Pashto he would carry out an “operation” in Germany, and presenting himself as a “soldier of the caliphate”.
Four members of a family of tourists from Hong Kong and a passer-by were hurt in the assault late yesterday in southern Germany that appeared likely to rekindle tensions over the country’s refugee influx.
German authorities said they had found a hand-painted IS flag and what they called a suicide letter among the asylum seeker’s belongings. The assailant was killed by police as he attacked officers while trying to flee.
“The perpetrator of the stabbing attack in Germany was one of the fighters of the Islamic State,” the IS-linked Amaq news agency said.
Amaq later released a video it claimed showed the attacker threatening “infidel” countries. Authorities said they were still trying to determine the video’s authenticity.
Locals described the assailant, identified in media reports as Riaz A, as “calm and even-keeled” and a “devout Muslim who did not appear to be radical or a fanatic”, according to Joachim Herrmann, interior minister of Bavaria state.
“According to the investigation thus far, there was no evidence on site to point to him belonging to the Islamist network,” Herrmann said.
Police however later found a farewell letter he apparently left for his father, who still lives in Afghanistan, in which he said the world’s Muslims “must defend themselves”.
“Now pray for me that I can take revenge on non-believers, pray for me that I can get to heaven,” the note said.
Prosecutors said he shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) three times as he made his way through the carriage.
An eyewitness told DPA news agency that the train, which had been carrying around 25 people, looked “like a slaughterhouse” with blood covering the floor.
Germany has thus far escaped the kind of large-scale jihadist attack seen in the southern French city of Nice last week, in which 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to mow down 84 people.
That attack was also claimed by IS without the assailant having clear ties to the group. A record 1.1 million people were let in to Germany last year, with Syrians making up the largest group followed by Afghans.
The assailant had arrived as an unaccompanied minor in Germany in June 2015 and had been staying with a foster family in the region for the last two weeks, Herrmann said.