Crime: Knife attacks in Duisburg: Attorney General takes over

After the two serious knife attacks in Duisburg within a few days, the federal prosecutor's office took over the investigation of the 26-year-old suspect.

Crime: Knife attacks in Duisburg: Attorney General takes over

After the two serious knife attacks in Duisburg within a few days, the federal prosecutor's office took over the investigation of the 26-year-old suspect. The reason is the special importance of the case, said a spokeswoman for the Karlsruhe authority of the German Press Agency.

There are indications of a possible Islamist motivation for the crime. The alleged perpetrator from Syria is in custody and has not yet commented on the allegations.

In a Duisburg gym, an attacker seriously injured four people with a knife on Tuesday last week. Three of them have now been released from the hospital, and a 21-year-old is still in mortal danger, as the Duisburg police confirmed. At the moment, however, there are no indications of further acts by the accused, a senior official from the NRW Ministry of the Interior said on Thursday in the Interior Committee of the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament.

The most important piece of evidence: one of the suspect's shoes

Also on Thursday, the Düsseldorf public prosecutor's office informed that the alleged perpetrator is now also suspected of having committed another bloody crime not far from the gym. There, on the night of Easter Sunday, a 35-year-old was fatally stabbed. The Syrian is said to have inflicted a significant number of stab wounds and cuts on the victim, especially in the lower abdomen. The 35-year-old was injured so badly that he died a few hours later.

The most important piece of evidence is a suspect's shoe, on which, according to the NRW public prosecutor's office, both DNA traces of the killed 35-year-old and one of the victims from the gym were found. However, there were no new statements about the possible motives for the attacks. No further information is currently being given, the investigation is ongoing, the federal prosecutor said.

Suspect's silence "untypical for an assassin"

Special police units had arrested the 26-year-old on the night of last Sunday after information from two acquaintances in his apartment near the gym. He is silent on the allegations. His presumed motives are still unclear, said NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) on Thursday at the meeting of the state parliament committee.

The suspect's silence is "atypical for an assassin who wants to classify his crime" and also for a gunman who, in his view, has nothing left to lose.

On Tuesday, the investigators had expressed the suspicion that the knife attack in the gym could have been a terrorist attack. There are indications of an Islamist motivation for the arrested Syrian, spokesmen for the Düsseldorf public prosecutor's office had announced. This was the result of the analysis of the suspect's mobile phone. The authorities had been in contact with the federal prosecutor for some time.

According to earlier information from the police and public prosecutor's office, the Syrian had applied for asylum in Germany in April 2016. In 2018 he was noticed in two cases of minor property crimes. However, both procedures have been discontinued. Apart from that, he lived inconspicuously in Germany for seven years.

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