A teenage Afghan refugee who shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before hacking at passengers during an axe rampage on a train in Germany last night had a hand drawn ISIS flag in his bedroom.
The 17-year-old was gunned down by armed police after fleeing from the scene near the city of Wurzburg, 70 miles north of Nuremberg in southern Germany.
As many as 19 passengers needed hospital treatment while three victims are fighting for their lives after being attacked with ‘cutting and stabbing weapons’. Officials have said it was ‘probably’ an Islamist attack.
An eyewitness said the train, which had been carrying around 25 people, looked ‘like a slaughterhouse’ after the attack, with blood covering the floor.
Now it has emerged that following a police search of the attacker’s bedroom, an ISIS flag was found.
It is believed to have been found in the room of a house he was living in with a foster family. He had only been staying there a fortnight.
It was confirmed by the Bavarian interior minister Joachim Hermann, who also said that two of those caught up in the attack were critically injured and that a Chinese family were among the injured.
He confirmed that the teenager came to Germany two years ago as an unaccompanied minor, and applied for asylum in March.
He lived in a home for teenage refugees until he was placed with the foster family.
Meanwhile an eyewitness, who declined to give his name, said he saw people crawl from the carriage and ask for a first-aid kit as other victims lay on the floor inside.
The onslaught started on the train from Treuchtlingen to Würzburg as the service stopped at Würzburg-Heidingsfeld.
As well as the three critically injured victims, one other passenger is believed to have non life-threatening injuries while 14 others suffered minor injuries or shock.
The attacker was eventually shot dead by police after running from the train.
Mr Herrmann, the interior minister of Bavaria state, earlier said the perpetrator was a 17-year-old Afghan who had lived in nearby Ochsenfurt. He has not yet been named.
‘It is quite probable that this was an Islamist attack,’ said a ministry spokesman, adding that the attacker had shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greatest).
A police spokesman added: ‘Shortly after arriving at Wuerzburg, a man attacked passengers with an axe and a knife.
‘Three people have been seriously injured and several others lightly injured.’
He added: ‘The perpetrator was able to leave the train, police left in pursuit and as part of this pursuit, they shot the attacker and killed him.’
There were no further details on the circumstances of the teenager’s death, and police declined to suggest what the motive was for the attack.
‘At this time everything is possible,’ the spokesman said.
Train services have come to a halt between Wurzburg-Heidingsfeld and Ochsenfurt and a police helicopter is circling the area.
The Bavarian interior ministry confirmed that police had shot and killed the attacker and a special task force has been dispatched from Wurzburg. Police believe the attacker worked alone.
Germany had thus far escaped the kind of large-scale jihadist attacks seen in the southern French city of Nice last week, in which 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to mow down people leaving a Bastille Day fireworks display, killing 84 people in an attack claimed by ISIS.
In May, a mentally-unstable 27-year-old man carried out a similar knife attack on a regional train in the south, killing one person and injuring three others.
Early reports suggested he had yelled ‘Allahu akbar’ but police later said there was no evidence pointing to a religious motive. He is being held in a psychiatric hospital.
Germany let in a record nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers last year, with Syrians the largest group followed by Afghans fleeing ongoing turmoil and poverty in their country.
The number of refugees arriving in Germany has fallen sharply as a result of the closure of the Balkans migration route and an EU deal with Turkey to stem the flow.
In April, May and June, the number was around 16,000 each month, less than a fifth of the tally seen at the start of the year, according to official figures.
Bavaria is governed by the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats.
The CSU has been loudly critical of Merkel’s welcoming stance toward asylum seekers, a split that threatened the unity of the ruling coalition in Berlin and sent the government’s approval ratings plunging.
It has also lent support to a right-wing populist party, Alternative for Germany, which was founded as a eurosceptic protest party in 2013 but now mainly rails against Islam and Germany’s refugee influx.
It currently polls at more than 10 percent and is represented in half of Germany’s 16 states as well as the European Parliament.
The attack in Bavaria is likely to revive political tensions.