WURZBURG , Germany, July 19 (UPI) — The Islamic State called a teenage Afghan asylum seeker, suspected of attacking passengers on a German commuter train, one of its fighters.
Three people were seriously injured Monday evening as the assailant, 17, swung an ax and a knife at passengers aboard a train traveling from Wurzburg-Heidingsfeld to Ochsendfurt in southern Germany. Another 14 passengers were treated for shock, and one other passenger sustained light injuries.
The attacker was shot to death by German police as he ran from the train.
Four of the injured were members of a Hong Kong family, the South China Morning Post reported. Two had injuries regarded as critical.
German Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told the ZDF television network Tuesday the attacker lived in a group home for unaccompanied asylum seekers before moving to a foster home.
“A hand-painted IS flag was found in his room,” he said.
Witnesses to the attack said the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar,” prior to the attack, meaning “God is great.” Herrmann said investigators’ initial assessment is that the suspect acted alone, adding authorities were working to learn if “he really was connected to Islamist circles or whether he recently was self-radicalized.”
The IS news agency Amaq called the assailant “one of the fighters of the Islamic State and the fighter answered calls to target countries of the coalition that is fighting the Islamic State.”
But it is unclear if he carried out the attack under IS direction. IS also took credit for the Thursday attack in Nice, France, in which 84 people died and 300 were injured. Investigators have found no direct link between the truck driving assailant and the group. The Amaq statement was phrased similarly to one it issued following the Nice incident.