BERLIN — Two people were killed and at least seven others injured in a stabbing on a train in northern Germany on Wednesday afternoon.
The attack happened shortly before 3 p.m. on a regional train traveling from the northern city of Kiel to Hamburg. Just before the train arrived in the town of Brokstedt, about halfway during the journey, a man started randomly stabbing passengers, according witness reports.
It was unclear how exactly how the attack ended. One witness told the news site t-online that he held the assailant after the man had dropped the knife until police could arrest him.
The attacker, whom the authorities have identified as a 33-year-old Palestinian man, was arrested at the train station in Brokstedt, 40 miles north of Hamburg. Having been alerted by passengers en route, the police were waiting for him when the train pulled in. No more information on the suspect was released. A motive was not immediately clear.
Witnesses described a scene of carnage with blood visible along several train cars. Police officers, who questioned witnesses in Brokstedt, said about 70 people were on the train during the attack.
Nancy Faeser, the federal interior minister responsible public safety, promised a quick investigation. “The background to the crime is now being investigated at full speed,” she said.
The attacker, who was also severely injured and was being treated at a hospital, will be interrogated as soon as he is fit, the police said.
“It’s quite horrible,” Sabine Sütterlin-Waack, the state minister of the interior for Schleswig-Holstein, where the train stopped, told a public broadcaster. “We are all completely shocked and horrified that something like this has happened.” She added in a statement, “For me it is clear that the horrific act is directed against all humanity.”
The station was cordoned off and the train was stalled in the station as the police investigated the attack. Train service on the line was temporarily halted, according to the national German train service.
The attack follows other recent deadly stabbings in the country, including one that killed a teenage girl in Illerkirchberg and another that killed three people in Würzburg. There have also been several attacks on trains in recent years. Ubiquitous in Germany, trains usually do not carry extra security or police.
Last May, a 35-year-old man stabbed four people on a similar regional train in North Rhine-Westphalia. A judge recently ordered the attacker, who came from Iraq, be held in a psychiatric ward.
In November 2021, a 27-year-old attacked four men with knife on a high-speed train in Bavaria. The attacker, who was born in Palestine and grew up in Syria, was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
And in 2016, the police shot and killed a 17-year-old assailant who attacked four people on a train with a knife and an ax in Bavaria. The attacker, who identified himself as an Islamic State fighter, came from Afghanistan.
In the attack on Wednesday, three people were severely injured, while four others escaped with minor injuries, according to the police, who did not release the names of the victims.
“I sincerely wish those injured a speedy recovery,” Ms. Faeser said.