German authorities see extremist motive in Mannheim knife attack

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German authorities say they have uncovered evidence of an extremist motive in last week’s knife attack in the southwestern city of Mannheim in which a police officer was fatally injured.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann wrote on the social media platform X late Monday that “there are now clear indications of an [extremist] motive” for the attack and federal prosecutors, who are responsible for terrorism and national security cases, are taking over the investigation.

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The federal prosecutor’s office confirmed Tuesday that it has taken on the investigation, citing the significance of the case and the suspicion that it was religiously motivated.

Investigators have said the suspected assailant, a 25-year-old man from Afghanistan who has lived in Germany since 2014 and reportedly had his asylum application rejected, stabbed several members of a group that describes itself as opposing “political Islam.”

Five members of the Pax Europa group were injured along with a police officer who tried to stop the attack.

The 29-year-old officer died of his injuries on Sunday.

Police quickly put an end to the attack by shooting the assailant, who was wounded.

The stabbing, about a week before Germany votes in European Parliament elections, has prompted calls from opposition and some governing party politicians for authorities to enable deportations to Afghanistan, which were effectively suspended when the Taliban took power there in 2021, and to Syria.

With The Associated Press

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