A supposedly assimilated Afghan refugee went on a mad rampage on a German train on Monday night, injuring four Hong Kong tourists in the process, two of them severely.
The 17-year-old refugee arrived in Germany last year. Initially, he was adapting to the new country so seamlessly that he was transferred from a group home to a foster family.
The teenager lived in Oscenfurt. On Monday night, he boarded a train bound for Wurzburg, carrying a bag containing a knife and an axe. Shortly after the train began moving, at approximately 9:15 p.m., he started his attack, lunging at innocent passengers, stabbing at them ferociously with the knife and wildly hacking away with the axe. Throughout the violent rampage, the attacker allegedly shouted “Allah akbar.”
After passengers finally managed to pull the emergency break, the attacker frantically fled the scene of the crime and hid in a nearby field. As he was making his escape, the teenager came across a woman walking her dog. He viciously swung his axe at her head, severely injuring the victim, but not killing her. Moments later, he was shot dead by police officers who had been tailing him from a helicopter.
A family of five Hong Kong tourists surnamed Yau were on board the train when the attack happened. The 62-year-old father and 58-year-old mother were injured in the attack along with the couple’s 26-year-old daughter and her boyfriend. Their 17-year-old son managed to escape unhurt. In total, 19 passengers were injured, witnesses said that the train carriage looked “like a slaughterhouse.”
According to Apply Daily, the father and boyfriend suffered the most severe injuries while trying to protect their loved ones, receiving cuts to the head. The family had flown to Germany to attend the wedding of another daughter in Berlin.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung condemned the attack and ordered a team of immigration officials to accompany four of the victims’ relatives to Germany, SCMP reports. Those relatives have since revealed additional details about the bloody axe assault. One of the Yau daughters said that her parents had tried to defend their daughter’s boyfriend from the attacker.
“Originally the assailant was attacking my sister’s boyfriend and when my mother and father saw, they went up to get in the way and then they got injured,” the eldest daughter told Apple Daily, via AFP.
According to SCMP, the relatives are currently asking that the less severely injured victims be flown home to Hong Kong.
Tracy Yau and her boyfriend, Edmund Au Yeung.
The Afghan teen has been described as aloof and constantly agitated, but those that interacted with him were in disbelief about the incident. “I do remember seeing this young man around town — not very tall, very intense dark eyes, always a little troubled looking. But I never thought him capable of this,” one neighbor told reporters.
The attacker was a devout Muslim, attending the mosque on high holidays, but was never portrayed as a fanatic or extremist.
The teenager’s affiliation with ISIS remains unclear. The terrorist group has proudly claimed that the boy was a devout “Islamic State soldier,” reports The New York Times. Though most evidence seems to point to the boy being only recently radicalized and to the carnage on the train being an isolated incident. Following the attacks, police officers searched the teen’s room only to find an ISIS flag, reports Al Jazeera.
The attacker was named in a video released by ISIS as Muhammed Riyad, but the boy registered to German officials as Riaz Khan, reports NDTV. Since the release of the chilling video, there has been speculations that the refugee is not actually from Afghanistan for he bears a Pakistani accent. All this is still under further investigation.
By Robin Winship
[Images via Apple Daily]