Church attacker kills worshipper with sword

A man with a samurai sword stormed into a Protestant church, killed one worshipper and seriously wounded three, including one whose hand was hacked off.

Sixty-five members of the local Tamil community, about half of them children, were in the middle of a service when the 25-year-old man attacked yesterday at the Methodist church in the southern German city of Stuttgart, police said.

He killed a 43-year-old woman and wounded others who got in his way, including another woman who was said to have life-threatening injuries, and two men, one of whom lost a hand.

A neighbour, who would not give her name, said that she had seen a woman covered in blood run screaming from the church and into the street before emergency crews reached her. Police subdued the man with pepper spray and arrested him.

The suspect, who is a Tamil from Stuttgart, was motivated by "personal reasons", officers said, adding that the man had made unspecified threats before Easter. Witnesses said that he entered church just before 4pm waving the sword, and went on the rampage.

Tamils are a predominantly Hindu minority in Sri Lanka and southern India. The group regularly rented the Stuttgart church to hold its services.

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