Austrian police officers have dismissed concerns that a knife attack on a train in the western part of the country on Tuesday may be connected to a similar incident in Switzerland on Sunday that left two people dead, including the attacker.
The knife attack in Austria happened at about 6:30 a.m. local time on a train heading to Bregenz, the capital of the country’s westernmost state, which is near Switzerland, according to The Local.
The 60-year-old German suspect, who the police described as “by all accounts mentally ill,” attacked two teenagers on the train. The suspect first jumped on a 19-year-old male victim sitting opposite him and stabbed him on his stomach and back, AP reported. As the train reached a stop in Sulz, the suspect then attacked a 17-year-old male and stabbed him in the neck.
The police said the suspect resisted arrest. Police officers, who resorted to using pepper spray, were able to take the man into custody with the assistance of a 22-year-old passenger on the train, who sustained a minor injury in the process, the BBC reported.
The two teenage victims of the knife attack, who reportedly sustained severe injuries, have been hospitalized.
A police spokeswoman told AP that there is no indication that the attack was related to a similar knife attack on a Swiss train over the weekend. The police have also dismissed the possibility that the attack was linked to terrorism.
Instead, a police statement said that the suspect “felt threatened” as the victims used their phones and therefore attacked them, AP reported. It is unclear exactly why the suspect felt threatened as the teenagers used their phones. A police statement said the suspect did not have a “migration background” and “voiced anti-Fascist utterances” as he was being arrested.
This is the third knife attack on a train in Europe since July. The fact that it occurred only a few days after a 27-year-old Swiss man stabbed several people on a train in eastern Switzerland is worth noting. The suspect, who also poured a flammable liquid on himself and some passengers, died from the injuries he sustained from the incident after being arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment, the Mirror reported. A 34-year-old female victim also died from the attack.
The other victims of the attack include a 6-year-old child, a male and female teenager both aged 17, a 34-year-old woman, a 43-year-old woman, and a 50-year-old man.
Just like the knife attack on the train the Austria, authorities in Switzerland noted that the deadly attack was not being treated as a terrorist act.
Europe has been confronted with a series of terrorist attacks in recent months as the continent struggles to deal with the mass influx of refugees from the Middle East.
In July, a 17-year-old Afghan male was shot and killed by the police in Germany after he attacked people on a train in Bavaria with a knife and an ax, the BBC reported. The suspect reportedly stabbed four people. German authorities said the teenager, who arrived in the country a year earlier, staged the attack to take revenge after he learned that his friend had been murdered in Afghanistan.
The Islamic State later released a video allegedly showing the teenager making threats to carry out an attack in Germany for the Caliphate, according to The Local.
Several European countries continue to be on high alert for terrorist attacks. According to the Express, in light of the Bastille Day massacre, authorities in France, Italy, and Spain have sought to enhance security by increasing the number of law enforcement officers in public places, particularly in areas frequently visited by tourists.
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