German police tried to recruit Hamburg attacker as informant – report
German authorities were allegedly aware of Ahmad A.’s extremist tendencies for at least a year and tried to recruit him as an informant before the 26-year-old refugee went on a supermarket stabbing spree in Hamburg last week, killing one and injuring several others.
While investigators had earlier admitted that Ahmad A. was known to have been radicalized, a report in Der Spiegel claims that authorities apparently knew a lot more about the attacker’s radicalization tendencies prior to the July 28 attack at the Edeka supermarket.
In June 2016, the State Criminal Police Office (KLA) allegedly tried to recruit the 26-year-old as an informant.
A KLA officer visited the asylum shelter in Hamburg to talk about potential radicalization within the migrant community, De Spiegel reports. The head of the asylum shelter reportedly informed the officer of Ahmad’s odd and potentially dangerous behavior.
The officer allegedly tried to approach the 26-year-old to find out about the “Islamist situation” in Hamburg. However, the attempt proved futile as the man refused to become an informant.
Furthermore, after talking with Ahmad, staff members of the Legato advisory center, which deals with cases of “religious-based radicalization,” said they were “overburdened” with the Palestinian who was suffering from “psychological problems.”
Der Spiegel further revealed that in September 2016, city authorities received information that the suspect was trying to ascertain the best way to make it into Syria, where he allegedly wanted to join the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group. Following the tip, federal police and border police were alerted of Ahmad’s motives.
The publication also said the man did not follow Islam’s code of ethics, and was drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis. The attacker also allegedly told an employee of the local café that “terror will come here.”
On 28 July, Ahmad A. went to an Edeka supermarket in Hamburg. Having grabbed a 20cm-long kitchen knife at the store, he began stabbing people and shouting “Allahu Akbar.” One person was killed and at least six others injured, before the attacker was apprehended by police.
Germany’s migration office discovered earlier this week that authorities missed a deadline to deport the suspect two years ago. Ahmad, who is of Palestinian origin but born in the in the United Arab Emirates, arrived in Germany via Norway in 2015. The investigation also noted that Ahmad A. claimed that he decided to carry out an attack to die as a “martyr.”