According to Reul, the 31-year-old man of Iraqi descent randomly stabbed train passengers. A 60-year-old police officer in plain clothes, who also happened to be on the train, managed to push the suspect to the ground along with two other train passengers and arrest them. Both the officer and the suspect were injured. It is not known whether there were Dutch people on the train.
Reul praised the courage of the agent and both train passengers who forced the man to stop. “These three brave people have prevented worse,” said Reul.
During the attack there were 270 passengers on the train, which had just left for Aachen from Herzogenrath. The injured injured had cuts to the face, hand or shoulder. None of them suffered life-threatening injuries, Reul said.
Train traffic between Mönchengladbach and Aachen has been shut down. The German police are on site with two hundred officers to hear the passengers on the train as witnesses.
The suspect is not unknown to the police, according to Reul. He lives somewhere in North Rhine-Westphalia, his current nationality is unknown. In 2017, the asylum seekers center where the man was staying tipped off the police. The German asylum seekers’ center feared that the man adhered to radical Islamic ideas. According to Reul, the man has since isolated himself further and further from his surroundings and other people and has grown a beard. He also took different names, making it difficult to trace his identity.
“Now it must be investigated whether there was actually an Islamic background for this act,” Reul said during a press conference on Friday afternoon. A specialized team of the police must carry out this investigation.