Hamburg knife attack: What we know

Hamburg

The man who killed one person and injured six in a supermarket knife attack in Hamburg was a "known Islamist", police say.

Hamburg's state interior minister, Andy Grote, said the man - whose asylum claim had been rejected - was known to have been radicalized but hadn't been considered risky.

The Hamburg police weren't able to confirm the whole "Allahu akbar" part, nor were they sure if Islamicist ideology had anything whatsoever to do with the attack. Media reports said he injured his shoulder while throwing a metal rod at the attacker.

It also shed light on the nexus of violence and psychological distress, an overlooked outcome of the torturous quest for asylum, advocates say.

A video made minutes after the attack showed several civilians getting up from a nearby cafe and confronting the knifeman with chairs and stools until police arrived at the scene to arrest him. Police said they were still trying to determine his citizenship.

The suspect is also of Palestinian descent, reported Haaretz newspaper.

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The man's only run-in with police came in April, prosecutors said, after he was caught shoplifting. Grote was unsure of the motives for the attack, saying, "It remains unclear which was the overriding element".

A friend had tipped authorities off to changes in the man, telling them that he stopped drinking alcohol and started talking about the Quran, said Torsten Voss, head of the Hamburg branch of Germany's domestic intelligence agency. But Grote said the threat level was considered low; specifically, he was classified as an Islamist, not a jihadist.

Those hurt in the supermarket included a 50-year-old woman and four men aged 19 to 64, while a 35-year-old Turkish man was wounded while capturing the attacker. The mayor said Ahmed was motivated by "hate".

He later wounded two other men in the supermarket before fleeing, injuring others along the way, before he was overpowered by courageous passers-by.

Like the alleged Hamburg attacker, Amri was a failed asylum seeker who could not be deported for lack of documents.

Friday's assault risks reopening a bitter debate over refugees two months before general elections, putting pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her decision to open Germany's borders in 2015 and let in more than a million asylum seekers.

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