Crime: Searching for answers after regional train knife attack

After the fatal attack on a regional train from Kiel to Hamburg, shock, sadness and the question of why remain.

Crime: Searching for answers after regional train knife attack

After the fatal attack on a regional train from Kiel to Hamburg, shock, sadness and the question of why remain. Police and prosecutors want to continue their investigation into the attack in which two people died and seven were injured on Thursday. The crime triggered a large-scale operation by the police and rescue services on Wednesday and caused horror far beyond Schleswig-Holstein. A 33-year-old stateless Palestinian is said to have stabbed several passengers while driving. According to Transport Minister Claus Ruhe Madsen (independent), there has never been a comparable serious violent crime on a train in Schleswig-Holstein.

Press conference on the status of the investigation

Two victims died, seven people were injured according to initial findings. The alleged perpetrator, who was overpowered by witnesses, was also injured. There was no information on the identities of the victims on Wednesday, they had not yet been clarified beyond doubt, the police said. Schleswig-Holstein's Ministry of the Interior ordered mourning flags to be displayed on Thursday. In the morning (9 a.m.), Schleswig-Holstein's Interior Minister Sabine Sütterlin-Waack (CDU) and a senior police officer want to speak at a press conference on the status of the investigation.

Many questions remained unanswered in the hours after the fact. "The background is still unclear," said a police spokeswoman on Wednesday. There were initial indications that the alleged attacker could be mentally confused, as the German Press Agency learned from security circles. According to preliminary findings, he had not been noticed as an extremist in northern Germany.

According to information from "Spiegel" and "Welt", the man is said to have made several appearances to the police and, according to NDR, has several previous convictions. As dpa learned from security circles, he is said to have been imprisoned until last week. According to NDR and "Spiegel", he was last in custody.

Courageous witnesses stopped the perpetrator

The investigators questioned dozens of witnesses from the train, which was occupied by around 120 passengers, in an inn near the small train station in the community in the district of Steinburg. Apparently brave passengers were able to prevent worse, they overpowered the attacker and held him down.

After the crime, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) also expressed her sympathy for those affected. "All our thoughts are with the victims of this terrible act and their families," the politician wrote on Twitter. This is "shattering news". Sütterlin-Waack rushed to the crime scene in the afternoon and was informed. She had learned of the crime during a state parliament session. Her thoughts are with the families and relatives of the victims.

Günther: "It's a terrible day."

Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU) spoke of a terrible and senseless act in Kiel on Wednesday evening. "Schleswig-Holstein is mourning - it's a terrible day," said Günther. He thinks of all those who mourned and feared for the injured. His thoughts and prayers are with the people and their families. The head of government thanked the emergency services for their work and also those who had taken care of the passengers and witnesses on the train and the injured.

Deutsche Bahn expressed its deepest condolences to the families of the victims. "We wish the injured a speedy and full recovery."

On Thursday night, the dead victims were taken by undertakers from the train parked at the Neumünster train station, as a dpa photographer saw. Forensic security was also active.