Palestinian Attacker in Hamburg Supermarket 'Hoped to Die a Martyr'

Born in UAE, the Palestinian man is under investigation after taking a knife off shelves and fatally stabbing one, wounding six in German supermarket

A woman puts down flowers in front of a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany on July 31, 2017. German prosecutors say the Palestinian man who fatally stabbed one person and wounded six others at the Hamburg supermarket appears to be a self-radicalized Islamic extremist who hoped to die as a "martyr."
Bodo Marks/AP

The Palestinian man who fatally stabbed one person and wounded six others at a Hamburg supermarket says he decided to commit an attack in hopes of dying a "martyr," German prosecutors said Monday. 

Federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases in Germany, said they were taking over the investigation of the suspect, identified only as Ahmad A. in line with German privacy rules.

Prosecutors said there's no evidence that he carried out Friday's attack as a member of the Islamic State group or any other terror organization, or that he was in contact with or under the influence of a member of any terror group at the time. There's also no evidence that other people were involved.

They said that the investigation has pointed to an Islamic radical motive, and indicates that Ahmad A. radicalized himself.

He has told investigators that he had been considering Islamic radical issues for some time and decided two days before the attack to live "a corresponding way of life," they added.

They said "on the day of the act itself, he consequently decided to commit an attack, linked with the hope of dying as a martyr."

The suspect carried out the attack with a kitchen knife he grabbed from a supermarket shelf. He was then overwhelmed by passers-by and arrested, and is in custody on suspicion of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

Omer Unlu stands in front of the supermarket in Hamburg, Germany on Monday, July 31, 2017 where he and other pedestrians stopped the attacker who fatally stabbed one person and wounded six others.
Daniel Reinhardt/AP

Ahmad A., a 26-year-old who was born in the United Arab Emirates, had had his asylum application rejected and was cooperating with authorities in efforts to secure new identity papers so that he could be deported.

Officials have said that he was known to authorities as a suspected Islamic radical but not as a "jihadist." They also considered him psychologically unstable but didn't conclude that he posed any immediate danger.