A hand-drawn flag resembling the one used by ISIS was found in the room of the man who attacked several people on a train in southern Germany late Monday evening, officials said.
The assailant, armed with a knife and an ax, was shot dead by police after a chase and confrontation, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said at a news conference Tuesday.
The attacker is a 17-year-old Afghan man living in Ochsenfurt, Bavaria, according to Herrmann.
The teen came to Germany as an unaccompanied minor a year ago, Herrmann said.
“The first emergency call that the police headquarters received was about a witness who said that the attacker carried out attacks causing serious injuries and he had called out Allahu Akhbar,” Herrmann said.
Though a pro-ISIS media group said the attacker was an “ISIS fighter,” authorities cast doubt on that claim and it’s believed to be unlikely that he was working under the direct supervision of the terror group.
“This is a big mosaic puzzle right now and we will do everything to pull information together in order to assess his motivation,” Herrmann said.
Besides the flag, police found a text in Pashtu written in Arabic characters and Latin letters, Herrmann said. Authorities were trying to translate and interpret the text, Herrmann said.
“This may give the indication that this is about a person who recently self-radicalized him but we have no firm indications about this so far but this gives an indication.” Herrmann said.
The attack took place as the train was traveling between Treuchtlingen and Wurzburg. The train made an emergency stop short of the station at Wurzburg-Heidingsfeld and the assailant jumped out of the train, regional police spokesman Lt. Fabian Hench said.
“They (police) chased him up, confronted him, the attacker then was very aggressive and attacked the police officers with his ax,” Herrmann said. “And the police opened fire. The attacker then was shot dead.”
The parents of the attacker are still in Afghanistan, and police are trying to investigate his background, Herrmann said.
Germany absorbed more than one million refugees last year. Some have been concerned over the presence of terror groups in the country — both the potential for attackers to slip in with migrants and the concern that they may be able to radicalize disaffected youths.
Three Syrian men were arrested last month on suspicions that they were planning to carry out a mass casualty attack in Dusseldorf.
Many ‘in shock’
Four passengers who were attacked are in serious condition, with the total number of wounded unclear, according to the police spokesman.
Some 14 to 25 people were classified as “in shock” and treated at the scene, according to Gross.
At least four of those injured on the train were from Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s chief executive, CY Leung, said in a statement.
Herrmann said that those four are the most seriously injured. They were from a family of five relatives traveling together.
One is currently battling life-threatening injuries, he said.
Approximately 20 to 30 people were on the train, according to Gross.
A Deutsche Bahn spokesperson confirmed that train service between the two stations has resumed.