Berlin crashes were Islamist-motivated attack, say German prosecutors; accused being investigated for attempted murder

Six people were injured, three of them severely, when a man allegedly drove into several vehicles, intentionally targeting motorcycles, along a stretch of Berlin’s highway on Tuesday evening

The Associated Press August 19, 2020 16:09:25 IST
Berlin crashes were Islamist-motivated attack, say German prosecutors; accused being investigated for attempted murder

Berlin: A series of crashes caused by a 30-year-old Iraqi man on a Berlin highway was an Islamic extremist attack, prosecutors told the German news agency dpa on Wednesday.

“According to the current state of our investigation this was an Islamist-motivated attack,” the office said. Prosecutors did not reveal the man's identity, as is customary in Germany, but local media identified the suspect as Samrad D. He is being investigated for three cases of attempted murder.

Six people were injured, three of them severely, when the man allegedly drove into several vehicles, intentionally targeting motorcycles, along a stretch of the German capital’s highway on Tuesday evening. The crashes at three different locations led to a complete closure of one of the main traffic arteries of Berlin.

There were also indications that the man was suffering from psychological problems, dpa reported.

Local media reported that the man, who was driving a black Opel Astra, stopped on the highway after the third crash and put a box on the roof of his car, claiming it had explosives inside.

Several media reported that the man shouted “allahu akbar” or “God is great” as he got out of his car. Bild daily wrote he also shouted, “Nobody gets closer, or you will all die.”

He then rolled out a prayer carpet and started praying, daily paper Tagesspiegel reported. A police officer of Arabic immigrant background then approached the man, talked to him in Arabic, pulled him away from the car and detained him, the daily paper reported.

According to Tagesspiegel, the man is kbown to Berlin police. He was born in Baghdad in 1990 and lived in a refugee home in Berlin. In 2018, he was detained for injuring others and taken to a mental institution for a short time, Tagesspiegel reported.

After he was detained, specialists opened the box and found only tools.

One of the injured is in life-threatening condition, dpa reported.

The incident led to long traffic jams Tuesday evening. Some 300 people were stuck on the highway for hours and were getting support from the German Red Cross, the Berlin fire department tweeted Tuesday night.

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