National Security

Suspect in Knife Attack in Germany Was Known Islamist

“The suspect was a failed asylum seeker who is currently in the process of being deported. Previous attempts to deport the man failed because he didn’t have identification papers.”

A 26-year-old Palestinian man born in the United Arab Emirates is accused of attacking shoppers in a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany over the weekend. The man walked into Edeka—the largest supermarket chain in Germany—and proceeded to remove a kitchen knife from the shelves. He then went on a stabbing rampage, killing a 50-year-old man. He was eventually overpowered and contained when witnesses intervened once he fled the scene.

It was reported that bystanders shouted at the man in Arabic to drop the knife. A 50-year-old woman and four men aged 19 to 64 were all stabbed, and a 35-year-old man was injured while helping to contain the suspect. Germany’s privacy laws prohibit the public release of the suspect’s name.

The suspect was a failed asylum seeker who is currently in the process of being deported. He was denied asylum in Germany after records revealed that he’s registered on an Islamist database and has been residing in a shelter. Previous attempts to deport the man failed because he didn’t have identification papers. German authorities are now working on obtaining those papers from the Palestinian Authority.

The attacker was also recently reported by a friend for radicalized behavior. According to the friend, the man had stopped drinking alcohol, began talking a lot about the Koran, and had been questioning many things. Upon observing big changes in the suspect, the friend reported him to security officials on suspicion of radicalization. The suspect was evaluated last year and found to have mental health problems but posed no threat of imminent danger. While the police have acknowledged that the man was an Islamist, they don’t think he’s a jihadist.

Unable to differentiate between the two, I read the definitions of each term—as defined by Webster. An Islamist is described as being “an advocate or supporter of Islamic militancy or fundamentalism.” On the other hand, a jihadist is described as “an Islamic militant.” An Islamist believes in keeping law and order in strict guidelines according to the Koran and Islamic faith. I’m sorry, but is that not the end game of jihadists? If this suspect was on the radar for being prone to radicalization, the authorities are doing an awful lot of damage control.

Germany’s own interior minister cautioned against jumping right to terrorism before an investigation can be completed, saying, “Painful experience also teaches us that we must expect that jihadist ideology will be used as the reason or justification for acts that are perhaps carried out for very different reasons. The true motive can also lie in the perpetrator’s personality. This is being investigated in Hamburg.”

It’s also been noted that ISIS-inspired attackers in the past haven’t cooperated with authorities, whereas this guy is. He also murdered an innocent man and attempted to kill more people in the process, so there’s that. Since the police could find no immediate links to ISIS or any other terrorist organization, I guess mental illness is the easiest scapegoat.

Angelina Newsom

Angelina Newsom is an OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran. She has ten years experience in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies Criminal Justice and is still active within the military community.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.