Afghan Teen Attacks Hong Kong Family on German Subway With an Ax

Another bizarre attack that may be part of a larger pattern. Or a random act by a deranged individual.


A teenage Afghan refugee armed with an axe and knife injured four people on a train in southern Germany before being shot dead by police, officials say.

Three people in a group from Hong Kong were seriously hurt and one slightly injured in the attack in Wurzburg. Another 14 were treated for shock.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the attacker was killed as he tried to flee the scene.


Mr Herrmann said authorities were looking into reports that the attacker had yelled out “an exclamation”. Some witnesses quoted by German media said they had heard him shout “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) during the attack.


Although the motive has not been established, the BBC’s Damien McGuinness in Berlin says there is nervousness in Germany about attacks by Islamist extremists following the attacks across the border in France.

In May, a man reportedly shouting “Allahu akbar” killed a man and wounded three others in a knife attack at a railway station near the German city of Munich.

He was later sent to a psychiatric hospital and authorities said they had found no links to Islamic extremism.

We’re well past the point where any act of violence committed by Muslims is presumed to be religiously motivated terrorism. This may be an instance of that. Or it may just be a nutcase.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mu says:

    And the biggest uproar in Germany on the left is that the police killed the boy. Some people seem to lose all feeling for reality.

  2. WarrenPeese says:

    I’d say that if a guy shouts “Allahu Akhbar!” while trying to stab and hack innocent civilians to death, or just after mowing down innocent civilians with a truck, the violence was religiously motivated. They are also deranged for succumbing to this ideology, but I don’t think it’s helpful to say that militant Islamism is a mental illness.

  3. Mu says:

    Oh, the German press isn’t sure about that one either. The “allahu akhbar” comment is only reproduced in “a witness claimed to have heard” format.

  4. Gustopher says:

    We’re well past the point where any act of violence committed by Muslims is presumed to be religiously motivated terrorism. This may be an instance of that. Or it may just be a nutcase.

    Or both.

    Some crazy people are motivated by the voices in their heads. Some crazy people are motivated by the voices outside their heads.

  5. Mu says:

    Latest update” The German police found “clear, objective evidence” on a recorded emergency call of the guy yelling “allahu akbar”. German press now speculating about a possible islamic motivation.

  6. MikeSJ says:

    I wonder what the accounting for Germany will look like ten years from now. By that I mean the cost vs. the benefit of allowing Refugees and Migrants in.

    This attack is, while terrible, numerically insignificant. But if it is an example of an ongoing pattern of Muslim violence, coupled with high and never ending social costs as I suspect it will the consensus will be that Merkel’s decision was a serious mistake.

  7. Mu says:

    The big issue for Germany is 70 years of policy that being against anybody makes you the bad guy. Now being against certified bad guys might become acceptable, and that scares the dickens out of the political class. Their whole raison d’etre, preventing Germans from ever hating anybody again, is in danger. It’s like demonstrating to a republican that single payer healthcare works, and that guns don’t cause crime to democrats.

  8. Bill says:

    @Mu: I wonder how they’ll spin today’s attack?!

  9. Tyrell says:

    @MikeSJ: “serious mistake” – a huge understatement. Europe is under attack.
    “Controlled, contained, on the run, shrinking, j v team ” : President Obama.