Germany lorry attack: Police investigate possible terrorist motive after eight injured in Limburg crash

Prosecutors say suspect is 32-year-old Syrian citizen living in the Offenback district of Frankfurt

Peter Stubley
Tuesday 08 October 2019 15:05 BST
The scene of the crash which left eight people injured in Limburg, western Germany
The scene of the crash which left eight people injured in Limburg, western Germany

Eight people were injured after a man hijacked a truck and rammed a line of cars waiting at a traffic light in Germany, according to prosecutors.

Police are investigating whether the 32-year-old suspect had a terrorist motive for the attack in the western town of Limburg, near Frankfurt.

The man, described as a Syrian national living in the Offenbach district of Frankfurt, is said to have pulled the driver out of his cab at around 5.18pm on Monday.

He then accelerated the heavy goods vehicle towards a junction, crushing seven cars and a van. The occupants suffered only “slight injuries”, according to the authorities.

The suspect, who also suffered minor injuries, was arrested at the scene by federal police officers who happened to be nearby.

He is now being held on suspicion of attempted murder, according to a statement from the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office, which said it was looking into “all possibilities”.

“The investigation into the background of the crime is currently ongoing,” the statement added. “In particular, the motive for the crime can not yet be stated.”

Public broadcaster ZDFhad earlier quoted sources as saying the incident was being treated by investigators as having a “terrorist background”.

However Interior minister Horst Seehofer said on Tuesday he could not yet say how the incident was being classified. Other media reports stated that the authorities had not yet found any evidence of links to Islamists.

The federal prosecutor’s office, which handles terrorism cases in Germany, said it did not have responsibility for the case when contacted on Tuesday afternoon.

Prosecutors said mobile phones and USB sticks had been seized from two apartments in the districts of Offenback and Limburg-Weilburg as part of the investigation.

The driver who was pulled out of the lorry told the Frankfurter Neue Press newspaper that he had stopped at a red light when a man opened the door and stared at him.

He said he asked the suspect “What do you want from me?” but received no reply. “He did not say a word. I asked him again. Then he dragged me out of the lorry.”

The incident prompted comparisons to the Berlin Christmas market terror attack which left 12 dead in 2016. The Tunisian suspect, who had links to Isis, was later shot dead in Italy.

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