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Two people are in critical condition after an axe-wielding man attacked passengers on a German train

EPA/Karl-Josef Hildenbrand
A firefighter stands at a road block in Wuerzburg, Germany on July 18, 2016.
By Jill Petzinger


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

An unidentified man attacked passengers on a train between Würzburg-Heidingsfeld and Ochsenfurt in southern Germany on Monday evening.

The attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee armed with an axe and a knife, according to Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian interior minister. He was shot dead by police as he fled. Four passengers were injured, and two of are still in critical condition.

Herrmann told ZDF TV (link in German) on Tuesday morning that a hand-painted ISIL flag had been found among the teenager’s belongings in his room in the town of Ochsenfurt. The minister added that the attacker is currently believed to have acted alone, that he had been living in Germany for two years, and moved out of a home for unaccompanied refugee minors into a foster family house two weeks ago.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility (dpa link in German) for the attack on Tuesday morning. “The perpetrator of the stabbing attack in Germany was one of the fighters of the Islamic State,” the ISIL-linked Amaq news agency said.

Herrmann said that the assailant had no criminal record in Germany. “We must determine what the motive was and to what extent he really belonged to the Islamist scene or self-radicalised very recently,” he added.

The four people injured are a family from Hong Kong. The South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong leader CY Leung condemned the attack and said the Immigration Department would accompany family members of the injured to Germany and offer assistance.

This post was updated at 04:20am ET.

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