ISIS releases video of alleged Bavaria train attacker calling on Muslims to kill ‘infidels’
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has said the attacker was one of its fighters, according to IS-affiliated Amaq news agency. The agency later released a video, allegedly showing the ax attacker. Identifying him as Muhammad Riyad, IS called him a "soldier of the Caliphate."
In the video, the alleged perpetrator reportedly called on Muslims who couldn't reach IS strongholds in Syria and Iraq to conduct attacks in their own countries. The young man, whose identity cannot be immediately verified, is seen wielding a knife in a screenshot from a video which is circulating on social media. He reportedly claimed he would use the weapon in a slaughter to avenge the killings of people in Muslim countries.
Police have also found documents suggesting the Afghan teen who attacked passengers on the train in Wurzburg had links with IS.
“It is clear that apart from Islamic State terror group’s flag, several documents that indicate of the suspect's links to IS have been discovered in the suspect’s room,” N24 reported, adding that the documents have been taken by police for further analysis.
Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said Tuesday that a note was found in the teen’s room indicating he may have been self-radicalized. In the note the attacker wrote of Islam and a “need to resist.”
Warning: graphic video
“We also discovered a text in Pashto written partly in Arabic and partly in Latin, which indicates that this could be someone who has self-radicalized recently,” Herrmann said, noting that this had yet to be proven.
Herrmann also said that people who had been close to the attacker told investigators he had an appearance of a calm, not expressly religious person.
The official stressed that the attack is no reason for generalized suspicion of refugees. He added that attacks like the one in Wurzburg would not stop Germans from riding in trains and that people must not let “such attackers” ruin their lives.
According to initial findings the attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who arrived in Germany two years ago as an unaccompanied minor. He lived in the district of Würzburg for some time, in a town of Ochsenfurt. For two weeks prior to the incident, he was living with a foster family. They will now have to be questioned, Herrman said.
In an interview to public broadcaster ARD, Herrmann earlier said it was too early to speculate about the motives of the 17-year-old. He added that police are currently trying to figure out whether the teen was a member of an Islamist group or a self-radicalized lone wolf.
The minister confirmed earlier reports by German media that the teenager shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as he charged at his victims with an ax.
On Monday night, the Afghan teenager, whose name has not yet been officially disclosed, attacked passengers in a train car in Wurzburg, going at them with an ax and a knife. After the passengers stopped the train, the attacker fled the scene, but was later shot by police.
The attack left five people injured and 14 more in shock. The minister said two of the victims were in a critical condition.
Four of the injured were members of a Chinese family from Hong Kong. This was confirmed by Hong Kong Governor Leung Chun-Ying. He condemned the attack and sent the victims and their families his condolences. He also said representatives of the Hong Kong Economic Representation in Berlin would visit the victims in hospital. Herrmann said that so far the investigation has found no indication the Chinese tourists were deliberately targeted.
The attack comes just over two weeks after Germany’s spy chief Hans Georg Maassen announced that his domestic intelligence agency had obtained information on 17 IS militants who had entered Europe under the guise of refugees. “There is strong evidence that… 17 people have arrived under Islamic State instructions,” Maassen said.
Ricardo Baretzky, president of the European Centre for Information Policy and Security, has slammed as precarious the way authorities seem to ignore migrants' involvement in situations like the one in Wurzburg.
“This [attack] came exactly as expected, seeing that the risk [of terror attacks] has been increasing. It is a dangerous situation which is not been taken to grips and I will be very surprised if they [still] don’t get it [after Wurzburg incident],” Baretzky told RT. “[One] can’t wait until the fire engulfs the house, [one] has to act when there is smoke. And the problem is nothing has been done when there was smoke,” he pointed out.
Even Chancellor Angela Merkel, who’s been extensively criticized by a significant section of the German population for her open-door policy towards refugees, recently publicly acknowledged that some extremists could be taking advantage of the migrant influx to enter Germany and the European Union, saying that “in part, the refugee flow was even used to smuggle terrorists.”
The attack in Wurzburg is the second IS-linked act of violence within the European Union in less than a week, after the tragedy in France, in which a Tunisian truck driver ran down 84 people during celebrations in Nice. IS claimed that attack as well, and although the personality of the driver has its controversies, authorities acknowledged the fact he was a radical Islamist, recently radicalized.
Both attacks mirror the warning that recently came from FBI Director James Comey, who predicted that IS will spread worldwide as it prepares for the potential fall of its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria, growing ever more “desperate” to launch attacks elsewhere.