Syrian Steals Truck in Germany, Rams it Into 9 Cars, Injures 7

Published October 8th, 2019 - 09:09 GMT
Today it was revealed the suspect is a 32-year-old Syrian man who shouted 'Allah' as he was arrested, according to local media. (AFP/ File Photo)
Today it was revealed the suspect is a 32-year-old Syrian man who shouted 'Allah' as he was arrested, according to local media. (AFP/ File Photo)
Driver has been arrested but police said too soon to say if terror related or not.

A stolen truck ploughed into nine cars and left seven people injured in hospital in a suspected terror attack in Germany on Monday evening.

The white Mercedes lorry slammed into cars waiting at a traffic light opposite the main railway station in Limburg and crushed them together.  

Today it was revealed the suspect is a 32-year-old Syrian man who shouted 'Allah' as he was arrested, according to local media. 

It is believed he was previously known to police for dangerous bodily harm, drug possession, groping a 16-year-old girl and shoplifting but not extremism, according to Bild. 

And the federal prosecutor's office, which handles terror cases in Germany, said it doesn't currently consider the investigation to be its responsibility. 

Police said today that it is too soon to speculate about a motive for the incident, which began when the man dragged the original driver from the truck at 5.20pm yesterday. 

But sources have told local news site, Bild, that it is being treated as a terrorist incident and witnesses claim they heard the driver shouting 'Allah' as he was arrested. 

Other witnesses said he looked as though he was high on drugs during the attack. 

News agency dpa, also citing unidentified security sources, reported that the truck driver was a Syrian who arrived in Germany in 2015 and that there was no indication so far of a terrorist motive, but it also can't be ruled out. 

Germany has been on alert following several jihadist attacks in recent years claimed by the Islamic State group.

The most deadly was committed in 2016 by 23-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri, who killed 12 people when he stole a truck and ploughed it through a Berlin Christmas market. 

Police staged a major deployment of officers and vehicles, with a helicopter circling overhead the city of 35,000, about an hour's drive from Germany's financial capital of Frankfurt.

The site was cordoned off by police and brightly lit up as tow trucks removed the damaged cars one by one. 

The original driver of the truck, who was not named, was quoted by daily Frankfurter Neue Presse (FNP) as saying a man had 'dragged' him out of his lorry.

He said the man, in his 30s with short dark hair and a full beard, had yanked open the driver-side door and stared at him wide-eyed before forcing him out of the vehicle.

'I asked him 'What do you want from me?',' he told FNP. 'He didn't say a word.'

The truck sped into the parked cars a few hundred yards away and came to a stop on the central reservation of a six-lane road.

When the man behind the wheel of the truck emerged from the crash, several passersby provided first aid, FNP said.

'The passersby said the driver said ''Allah'' several times and spoke Arabic, FNP reported.

Police did not confirm this account.

Bettina Yeisley from Limburg, whose office is next to the scene of the crash, told FNP that she heard a loud bang and ran out onto the street with colleagues.

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They found the man sitting beneath a tree, without knowing the circumstances.

'He was bleeding from the nose, his hands were bloody, his trousers torn. He said that everything hurt. I asked him his name and he said, ''My name is Mohammed''.'

Authorities urged users of social media not to jump to conclusions on the motive.

'We are not ruling anything out,' a spokesman for the state police force said, quoted by DPA said. 

'But we call on you: don't take part in speculation!' the regional police wrote in several tweets. 

Asked what evidence there is of a possible terror attack as he arrived Tuesday at a meeting with European Union colleagues in Luxembourg, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that the investigation is underway and 'I can’t tell you at this point how this act is to be assessed.' 

The Mayor of Limburg Marius Hahn told DPA: 'I am shocked and my thoughts are with the injured accident victims and their families.'

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic security watchdog, warned in April of an increased risk posed by IS fighters returning from Syria and northern Iraq.

Its director Thomas Haldenwang said that an estimated 2,240 Islamists with 'terrorist potential' were living in Germany.

Last Thursday in neighbouring France, a Muslim convert who had reportedly started adopting increasingly radical beliefs stabbed four colleagues to death at Paris police headquarters.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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