The suspect and one victim have died following Saturday’s Switzerland train attack, in which a 27-year-old assailant set fire to a train and randomly stabbed passengers, Reuters is reporting. Two other victims remain in serious condition.
On Saturday, at about 2:20 p.m. local time (7:20 a.m. Eastern Time), an assailant armed with at least one knife, entered a car on a crowded train traveling near the city of Salez. The assailant then poured a flammable liquid onto the floor of the train, set it on fire, then began randomly stabbing passengers.
— lafrance (@journallnews) August 14, 2016
Six passengers and the assailant were taken to nearby hospitals. Some of the injured were described as having “serious” injuries, according to a BBC News report from the time. The injured include a 7-year-old child, a girl and a boy, both 17, two women aged 34 and 43, and a man aged 50 (later reports indicate the youngest victim was six years old, not seven). One of the injured — the 50-year-old man — was not on the train at the time of the attack, but rather outside the train, on the platform at the train station. He sustained his injuries while trying to help people off the train, according to an update published on BBC News.
“Dozens” of people were on-board the train at the time of the attack.
Since the attack, the assailant and one victim — the 34-year-old woman — has died. The 6-year-old and 17-year-old remain in serious condition, and the other victims have been treated and released from area hospitals.
— Panama Today (@panamatodaynews) August 14, 2016
As of this writing, police have said precious little about the assailant, identifying him only as a 27-year-old Swiss national who lived in a neighboring canton near the site of the attack. Having reviewed on-board surveillance footage from the train, police have determined that he acted alone.
Police are also ruling out the possibility that the train attack was an act of terrorism or otherwise politically or religiously motivated. Authorities say a search of the assailant’s home failed to turn up evidence that he was radicalized or otherwise driven to political violence.
“The motive remains unclear. There is currently none that can be found.”
As ABC News reports, Saturday’s attack illustrates how vulnerable Europe’s “labyrinthine” train system is to crime, even when criminals are using crude weapons such as flammable liquids and knives.
Just last month, according to a BBC News report from the time, a 17-year-old refugee from Afghanistan, armed with a knife and an axe, attacked a train in Germany, injuring four people. He was shot dead by police as he left the train. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack and even released a video of a young man, described as an “ISIS soldier” and purporting to be the terrorist himself, preparing for a suicide mission. Police say the teenager wanted “revenge” on “infidels” who had harmed his Muslim friends.
Similarly, in May, a 27-year-old German man stabbed commuters at a train station, killing one person and injuring three others, before be taken in by the police. He had been in and out of psychiatric care, and the attack was not believed to have been an act of terrorism.
And last year, a “heavily-armed” gunman opened fire on a Paris-bound train, but was overpowered by two American servicemen and their friend before he could cause any harm.
Back in Switzerland, the rail line on which the train attack occurred has been closed, and buses have been brought in to transport passengers.
[Image via Shutterstock/Dan Breckwoldt]