Police Kill Iraqi Man After Berlin Knife Attack

An Iraqi man has been shot dead, by German police, after he threatened pedestrians, and stabbed a police officer, with a knife, in the German capital, Berlin.

Police have shot and killed a man, after he threatened pedestrians, and stabbed a police officer, in the German capital city, Berlin. Police spokesman Stefan Redlich identified the suspect only as a 41-year-old Iraqi.

The suspect, who had reportedly been convicted of involvement in a 2004 plot against a visiting Iraqi leader, was first spotted threatening pedestrians with a knife, on a street, in the busy Berlin district of Spandau.

Once officers arrived on scene, the suspect was instructed by police to drop his weapon as they approached the man, Redlich said. The suspect stabbed one of the police officers in her neck and shoulder region, causing severe injuries.

Another officer shot the man, added Redlich. The suspect turned and attacked that officer, who discharged several more rounds in response, killing the suspect.

Redlich told press it was too early to say what might have motivated the suspect, who was released from jail in 2013.

The unidentified man was convicted of attempting an attack on Iraq’s prime minister during a visit to Berlin in 2004. Although he had been released, he was ordered to wear an electronic ankle monitor.

“He was under supervision and wears an electronic tag. But he was not under any surveillance,” said Berlin prosecutor Michael von Hagen, describing the suspect as someone “belonging to the Islamic scene.”

At the time of the suspect’s arrest in 2004, the man was supportive of the Iraqi insurgent group Ansar al-Islam, many of whose fighters have joined Islamic State forces in recent years, according to Florian Flade, a German terrorism analyst.

Flade identified the Iraqi suspect as Rafik Y., and suggested a possible link to terrorism and extremist motives.

“This could very well be related to calls from Islamic State – especially a recent video featuring the Austrian Mohamed Mahmoud calling for attacks in Germany and Austria, saying: ‘Take a huge knife and kill a kafir [disbeliever]’,” Flade told CNN.

However, von Hagen stopped short of drawing links to potential terrorism, instead suggesting to wait, to allow for investigations to continue.

“This crime was a big surprise for us,” von Hagen said. “We cannot say whether it has any Islamic background. Investigations are still ongoing.”

Categories: Europe, Germany, World

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