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Islamist motive suspected for attacks on Berlin motorway

According to investigators, several attacks with a car on the Berlin city motorway on Tuesday evening were probably motivated by Islam. The driver's statements suggested a religiously motivated act, a spokesman for the Berlin Public Prosecutor's Office told the AFP news agency on Wednesday morning.

Published: August 19, 2020, 2:21 pm


    The 30-year-old Iraqi, Sarmad A, rammed two motorcyclists on the A100 with his black Opel Astra and caused accidents in a targeted manner, reported the dpa news agency as well as the Berliner Zeitung. Six people were injured, three of them seriously. Then he stopped his car, got out and shouted “Allahu akbar”. Sarmad A then rolled out a prayer rug on the highway after the last attack and began to pray.

    One of his victims is currently in a critical state. The victim sustained serious head and vertebrae injuries, said a spokesperson for the Berlin public prosecutor’s office. “It is not clear whether he will make it.”

    As a result, the suspect is said to have placed a metal box on the car roof and threatened that nobody should approach him, otherwise everyone would die. According to the report, forensic technicians opened the box with a high pressure water jet. There were only tools in it. Another box in the trunk had been X-rayed. The police did not find any traces of explosives in the car.

    State security has taken over the investigation, according to AFP. It may be that the Iraqi is “mentally disturbed” authorities said. Sarmad A lives in a refugee shelter in Reinickendorf, and has been known to the police for a long time, notably for assault.

    The Iraqi was admitted to psychiatric hospital in August 2018, but was released soon afterwards. According to the public prosecutor’s office, he is a “tolerated deportee”.

    He may have been radicalized at the refugee shelter. According to security sources, the Iraqi had been in contact with an Islamist known to be a threat, linked to ISIS.

    Because of the investigations, the motorway section near the city center was completely closed for hours.

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