Report: Hamburg knife attacker is known Islamist

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An attacker who killed one man and injured six others with a kitchen knife in a Hamburg, Germany supermarket Friday was reportedly known to German police as an “Islamist,” but officials are denying that he was a “jihadist.”

Witnesses reported that they heard the man shout, “Allahu akbar!” as he held up his knife, but police will not confirm that report. Instead, authorities said he suffers from “psychological problems,” Sky News reported.

The attacker reportedly walked into a Edeka supermarket, purhcased bread, walked out and boarded a bus. He then quickly returned, grabbed a kitchen knife from a shelf, unwrapped it, and started stabbing people.

One victim, a 50-year-old man, died from the attack, and six others were wounded, some as they tried to stop the attacker.  As the man tried to escape, passers-by threw chairs at him in the street to stop him. Four German men, aged 19 to 64, and a 50-year-old woman were all wounded, as well as a 35-year-old Turkish man who also tried to help.

The attacker was identified as a 26-year-old man, Ahmad A., from the United Arab Emirates, who had applied for asylum in Germany, but his application had been rejected. He was reportedly scheduled for deportation, but that had been delayed because he didn’t have the proper identification documents.

However, the man had not filed an appealed against the rejection of his asylum application, but had gone to authorities the very day of the attack to ask if his identity papers had arrived.

Hamburg’s state interior minister, Andy Grote, said the suspect was “known as an Islamist but not a jihadist.” He admitted there were “indications of radicalization” but said it was “unclear” what motivated the man to do such a thing.

Police searched the Hamburg asylum seekers’ shelter where the attacker had been staying, but found no weapons. A neighbor at the shelter, 31-year-old Syrian refugee, Mohamed, said Ahmed A. had often helped other asylum seekers with their paperswork, but in recent weeks, “he had a crisis, he bought Islamist clothes and read the Koran very loudly in his room.”

Mohamed added, “And three weeks after Ramadan, he had another crisis. He started to drinkn heavily and smoke joints… he was sad that his mother was ill and that his asylum request was rejected.”

According to local officials, the Ahmed A. had originally immigrated to Norway, then came to Germany in 2015. He first lived in Dortmund, an area well-known for jihadi networks, before being relocated to Hamburg.

Hamburg’s mayor, Olaf Scholaz, stated, “It is infuriating that this perpetrator is someone who asked for protection in Germany and then turned his hate against us.”

“We evaluated him rather as someone who was psychologically unstable than had clear Islamic extremist motivations,” Torsten Voss, head of the Hamburg domestic intelligence agency claimed.

Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s interior minister, refused to call Friday’s knife attack a “terror attack,” but instead said it is a “deplorable attack on our society.”

“Our painful experience tells us that we must recognise that jihadi ideology can be used as grounds or justification for attacks that actually might be committed for very different motives,” he stated.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Germany’s borders in 2015, allowing over a million refugees into the country. Merkel is up for re-election in less than two months, where she is seeking a fourth term in office, in spite of continued crime and terror caused by the refugee crisis.

Dramatic video was captured from someone in a car, showing people throwing chairs at the attacker. They eventually pinned him up against a wall until police arrived to arrest him.

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