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Islam critic among six wounded in Germany knife attack

Germany Mannheim knife attack
Image: Video Screenshot

A prominent critic of Islam was among six people wounded in a knife attack at a rally in Germany on Friday, drawing immediate condemnation from the nation’s leaders.

The attack, just days before EU-wide elections, comes amid a spike of politically motivated violence in Germany.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser raised the possibility that the assault could be Islamist motivated.

A man with a knife attacked and wounded several people on the market square in the city of Mannheim, around 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of Frankfurt in southwest Germany, at around 11:35 am (0935 GMT), police said in a statement.

Five of those wounded were taking part in a rally organised by Pax Europa, a campaign group against radical Islam, police said.

A police officer who intervened was also stabbed several times in the back of the head, it said.

Officers fired at the attacker and wounded him.

“The extent and severity of the injuries are not yet known,” the police said, adding that the identity of the attacker had not yet been determined.

“The images from Mannheim are terrible,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote on X, adding that “Violence is absolutely unacceptable in our democracy. The perpetrator must be severely punished.”

Pax Europa said on its website that one of the victims was Michael Stuerzenberger, a German far-right activist and blogger, who had been due to take part in the rally.

Stuerzenberger suffered serious stab wounds to his face and also to his leg, the group said.

– ‘Great danger’ –
Stuerzenberger has been a prominent anti-Islam campaigner in Germany for several years.

The Bavarian security services have accused him of making “Islamophobic statements”, and has classed Pax Europa as Islamophobic.

Faeser called for a thorough investigation into the attacker’s motive.

“If the investigations reveal an Islamist motive, this would be a further confirmation of the great danger posed by Islamist acts of violence,” she said in a statement.

Germany has been on high alert for possible Islamist attacks since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, with the country’s domestic intelligence chief warning that the risk of such assaults is “real and higher than it has been for a long time”.

The country had also seen a spate of attacks on politicians at work or on the campaign trail ahead of EU Parliament elections on June 9.

Matthias Ecke, a European parliament lawmaker for Scholz’s SPD party, was set upon this month by a group of youths as he put up election posters in the eastern city of Dresden.

Days later, former Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey was hit on the head and neck with a bag as she visited a library in Berlin.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said last week that he was worried by the growing trend and said Germans “must never get used to violence in the battle of political opinions”.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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