Hamburg attacker wanted to die a 'martyr'

Palestinian Arab man who carried out stabbing attack at Hamburg supermarket was self-radicalized, say German prosecutors.

Elad Benari,

Scene of Hamburg stabbing attack
Scene of Hamburg stabbing attack

A Palestinian Arab man who fatally stabbed one person and wounded six others at a Hamburg supermarket last Friday decided to commit an attack in hopes of dying a "martyr," German prosecutors said Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases in Germany, said they were taking over the investigation of the suspect, identified only as Ahmad A. in line with German privacy rules.

They said there is no evidence that he carried out Friday's attack as a member of the Islamic State (ISIS) group or any other terror organization, or that he was in contact with or under the influence of a member of any terror group at the time. There's also no evidence that other people were involved.

At the same time, prosecutors said that the investigation has pointed to a likely Islamic radical motive, and indicates that Ahmad A. radicalized himself.

He reportedly told investigators that he had been considering Islamic radical issues for some time and decided two days before the attack to live "a corresponding way of life", according to AP.

"On the day of the act itself, he consequently decided to commit an attack, linked with the hope of dying as a martyr," the prosecutors were quoted as having said.

The suspect carried out the attack with a kitchen knife he grabbed from a supermarket shelf. He was then overwhelmed by passers-by and arrested, and is in custody on suspicion of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

Ahmad A., described as a 26-year-old who was born in the United Arab Emirates, had his asylum application rejected and was cooperating with authorities in efforts to secure new identity papers so that he could be deported, according to AP.

Officials have said that he was known to authorities as a suspected Islamic radical but not as a "jihadist." They also considered him psychologically unstable but didn't conclude that he posed any immediate danger.

The attack in Hamburg was the latest in a series of terrorist attack in Germany that have left the country on high alert.

In one attack, a 17-year-old Afghani with an axe attacked passengers on a train in Wurzburg before being shot dead by security forces.

In a second incident, an attacker set off a bomb in a restaurant in Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 12 others.

The most serious attack took place in December, when terrorist Anis Amri drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.