An Afghan refugee hacked multiple people with an axe on a commuter train in Germany in what one official called “probably an Islamist attack.” He has been named as 17-year-old Muhammad Riyad. The incident happened on the night of July 18 in Würzburg-Heidingsfeld, around 70 miles north-east of Nuremberg.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Islamic State Has Claimed Riyad as a Member
The Washington Post reports that the Islamic State has claimed Riyad as member, referring to him as a “fighter” in a propaganda statement. The newspaper quotes the group’s news agency, Amaq, referring to Riyad being “one of the fighters of the Islamic State and the fighter answered calls to target countries of the coalition that is fighting the Islamic State.” The Post adds that an initial search of Riyad’s room recovered a hand painted ISIS flag.
Bild reports that authorities also found a text from Riyad that read like a goodbye message. The newspaper, citing official sources, says that there is evidence that the attacker was not radicalized until recently. That source added that Riyad “was not a very devout Muslim.”
Riyad was armed with both an axe and a knife during the attack, reports the Associated Press.
2. The Train Was Described as Looking Like a ‘Slaughterhouse’
A police spokesman, Fabien Hench, told Sky News that some of the victims are in life-threatening condition. In an official statement, local police said that four people are in very serious condition. Bild reports that among the victims are four tourists from Hong Kong. One member of their family, a 17-year-old boy, survived unharmed.
Bild reports that witnesses described the scene on the train as looking like a “slaughterhouse.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Anton Troianovski reports that most of those “injured” are being treated for shock.
3. Riyad Had Been Living With a Foster Family in Germany
The Minister of Interior for Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann, said that the Riyad was a 17-year-old from Afghanistan. The minister added that the suspect came to Germany as a refugee. The Daily Telegraph reports that Riyad had been living with a foster family in the country prior to the attack. Authorities initially believed that he acted alone.
BR24 reports that officials in Germany believe that the attack was “politically motivated” and that Riyad had the intention of killing.
German newspaper Welt reports that Riyad first came to Germany in 2014. He was registered as an asylum. In March 2016, he had been living in a group home and since July 2016 he had been moved to a foster family.
The Wall Street Journal’s Anton Trioanvoski reports that the suspect was killed. This was later confirmed by the Bavarian interior ministry in Munich. The ministry said that Riyad was shot as he tried to flee the scene.
The town of Wurzberg is the home of Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki. After the attack, he tweeted that he was “speechless.”
4. There Are More Than 150,000 Afghan Migrants in Germany
In total, there over 1 million migrants in Germany, 150,000 of whom are Afghani, reported the Washington Post.
On the day of the train attack, one of Germany’s far-right leaders, Lutz Bachmann, was arrested on charges of inciting racial hatred, reported the Guardian. Bachmann had earlier been fired for referring to refugees as “cattle” and “scum.”
5. The Attack Comes as All of Europe Is on Edge Following the Killing of Over 80 People in a Truck Attack in France
This attack comes less than a week after Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel killed 84 people in Nice on Bastille Day. Bouhlel, a Tunisian immigrant to France, was reported by the Daily Mail to have been a homosexual. He was killed at the scene of his crime by responding police. In response to the attack, French authorities extended the country’s state of emergency by three months.