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Man stabs passengers on German train, 2 dead

By Earle Gale in London | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-27 08:55
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German police on Thursday were questioning a man they arrested after a "frenzied" knife attack on a train left two teenagers dead and at least seven people injured.

Reports describe the suspect as a 33-year-old stateless Palestinian with a long criminal history who was released from prison a week before the incident.

Investigators believe he slit the throat of a female passenger before chasing others through the train that links the northern city of Kiel to Hamburg.

Around 120 passengers were on the train at the time, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported, with about 70 questioned by police in a nearby restaurant immediately after the incident.

A 16-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man died of their wounds, authorities said.

Police spokesman Juergen Henningsen, from the nearby city of Flensburg, told broadcaster Deutsche Welle that three others were taken to hospital with severe injuries.

The attack happened around 3 pm on Wednesday, as the train approached the town of Brokstedt, which is about 50 kilometers north of Hamburg.

Passengers reportedly overpowered the man as he attempted to flee and were holding him when officers arrived.

Sabine Sutterlin-Waack, interior minister for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, described the scene as "terrible".

"We're really shocked and appalled that something like this happened," the broadcaster NDR quoted her as saying.

NDR said sources inside the investigating team believe the alleged attacker arrived in Germany eight years ago, and has criminal convictions for assault, sexual assault, shoplifting, and theft. The German tabloid newspaper Bild said he was released from prison on Jan 19.

Police and prosecutors were investigating possible motives for the attack. As of Thursday afternoon, they had not linked the incident to terrorism.

More bloodshed

The incident in Germany happened on the same day as attacks in southern Spain that left at least one person dead, another seriously injured, and four more with less severe injuries.

The bloodshed, which took place on Wednesday evening in the southern port city of Algeciras, shocked Spain and left locals reeling.

In those attacks, a man wielding a machete entered the church of San Isidro in Algeciras and the nearby church of Nuestra Senora de La Palma, the El Mundo newspaper reported.

A priest and other religious officials were among those attacked and police said terrorism may have been the motive.

Francisco Garcia, secretary-general of Spain's Episcopal Conference, wrote on Twitter: "We are united by the pain of families of the victims".

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