Knifeman with ‘smoking backpack’ stabs 14 on public bus

Passengers of a public service bus receive medical treatment near Luebeck, Germany, after the knife attack. Photo: Getty
Passengers of a public service bus receive medical treatment near Luebeck, Germany, after the knife attack. Photo: Getty

At least 14 people have reportedly been wounded, two of them seriously, in a knife attack on a bus in Germany.

A suspect – believed to be in his mid-30s – was arrested after the stabbings in the northern city of Luebeck on the Baltic coast, north-east of Hamburg, yesterday afternoon. The motive is unclear.

The packed bus was heading in the direction of Travemuende, a popular beach, when a man pulled a weapon on passengers, according to local media.

The bus driver immediately stopped the vehicle, allowing passengers to escape, local newspaper ‘Luebecker Nachrichten’ reported.

A spokeswoman for prosecutors, Ulla Hingst, told n-tv television that the bus driver stopped the vehicle and let the passengers out after the attack. She added the weapon that the assailant apparently used was a knife, although that is still under investigation.

“The background to this act is completely unclear,” she said.

“We are investigating in all directions. We cannot currently rule anything out.”

Experts were also examining a backpack on the bus as a precaution.

Ms Hingst said it was not clear whether the luggage belonged to the suspect, but said there had been reports of smoke coming out of the backpack.

She said the identity of the suspect, who was being questioned by police, had yet to be confirmed.

A police crew that happened to be nearby was able to get to the scene quickly, allowing officers to detain the suspect.

“The passengers jumped out of the bus and were screaming,” said Lothar H, a witness who lives close to the scene.

“It was terrible. Then the injured were brought out. The perpetrator had a kitchen knife.”

Police spokesman Duerk Duerbrook said the attack happened in the Kuecknitz district of Luebeck – around 65km north-east of Hamburg.

He said authorities were still trying to determine the circumstances of the attack.

The force described it as a “major police deployment”, adding that there had been no fatalities.

“There is currently a major police deployment in Luebeck,” the police force wrote on Twitter. “We are examining the situation and will give more information later.”

While the motive has not been established, Germany has been on high alert after several deadly Islamist extremist attacks.

Irish Independent

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