Germany: Afghan Refugee Attacks Train Passengers With Axe; Home-Made ISIS Flag Found in Room

After a 17-year-old Afghan refugee attacked 20 people on a Bavarian train with an axe, officials found a hand-painted ISIS flag in his room.

The Inquisitr reported on Monday’s attack by the Afghan teenager on a train near Würzburg, southern Germany. The Afghan refugee first yelled “Allahu akbah,” Arabic for “God is great,” before attacking passengers with an axe and a knife, injuring 20 people in total. Following the attack, a passenger pulled the emergency brake on the train.

Three of the victims were seriously injured in the attack, which took place some 174 miles north-west of Munich at around 9:15 p.m. local time on a regional commuter train traveling between Treuchtlingen and Würzburg. Fourteen passengers were treated for shock, while one other person sustained light injuries and two are still in a serious condition.

Speaking of the attack, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said on German television Tuesday, “He suddenly attacked passengers with a knife and an axe, critically injuring several. Some of them may now be fighting for their lives.”

According to a report by the Deutsche Welle, following the terror attack the teenager then fled the train and ran into a district of Würzburg, where police officers, including officers from special forces, came upon him.

“The perpetrator was able to leave the train, police left in pursuit and as part of this pursuit, they shot the attacker and killed him,” a police spokesman said.

Of the victims of the attack, four were from the same Hong Kong family. Reportedly, the leader of that territory, Leung Chun-ying has condemned the attack. Leung has reportedly sent representatives from Hong Kong’s Berlin trade office to follow up and provide assistance.

Herrman said investigators are making contact with people involved with the 17-year-old Afghan refugee. Reportedly, the teenager had arrived from Afghanistan without his parents and had been living in Würzburg since March this year. The unaccompanied minor was sharing a home with other minors who had traveled to Germany seeking asylum.

“The first emergency call to the police from a witness in the train said that he had shouted ‘Allahu akbahr,'” Herrmann reportedly told the German public broadcaster ZDF.

Hermann went on to say that officials had searched the Afghan refugee’s room, where he had reportedly been living for the past two weeks, and found a hand-made ISIS flag.

Referring to the flag of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” militant group, Herrmann said, “In searching the room where he last lived, a hand-drawn I.S. flag was found.”

Herrmann added that investigators are following every possible lead in an effort to determine the Afghan refugee’s motive for the attack and said it was too early to say he had an Islamist background. Reportedly, at that stage it was understood that the teenager acted alone.

“This must now all be put together in like a big mosaic, to figure out what his motivation was and the extent to which he really belonged in an Islamic movement, or whether he became self-radicalized very recently.”

As reported by the New York Times, more than 14,400 unaccompanied minors arrived in Germany last year among the over one million migrants. Many of the minors live in group homes, but others have been placed with foster families. According to Herrmann, the attacker most recently lived with a family near Würzburg.

Herrmann said that in light of recent mass-casualty attacks in neighboring Belgium and France, society in Germany is now on heightened alert. He said the police presence needed to be strengthened, but that it was clear authorities could not guarantee 100 percent safety for the country’s citizens.

“There cannot be a police officer in every train,” Herrmann said, adding that theoretically, a lone attacker like the Afghan refugee could strike anywhere in Germany.

Herrmann added this was a challenge for authorities to do everything possible to track down persons with bad intentions before they went out of control.

According to a more recent report by the International Business Times, ISIS has since released a statement in Arabic claiming that the Afghan refugee was an “Islamic State fighter.”

[Photo via Flickr by Karl Goessmann, cropped and resized/CC BY-ND 2.0]