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Hamburg attacker was known Islamist but not jihadist

One dead and several injured by knifeman in busy Hamburg supermarket

The police said they received a call that a man was attacking people with a knife and a bat in the city of Matsudo.

Germany has been on high alert over Islamist terrorism threats, and has been hunting down suspects who belong to the ISIS terrorist group (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).

But past year an evaluator who interviewed the Palestinian - who spoke fluent English, Swedish and Norwegian - said that while he had mental health problems, he did not pose an imminent danger, Mr. Voss said.

Barmbek is in northeastern Hamburg, away from the downtown district.

The motive for the attack remains unclear, but it's thought the suspect acted alone and was not linked to an extremist network. "They said he started talking a lot about the Quran, stopped drinking alcohol and questioning many things". He was overwhelmed by passersby and slightly injured in the process, police said.

The attacker, Tunisian Anis Amri, is shot dead by police in Milan four days later, and the rampage is claimed by ISIS. "Shortly afterward, officers arrested the suspect on the street in the vicinity of the shop", a police spokesman told the German outlet.

Germany has been hit by a spate of attacks, the deadliest of which struck a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, leaving 12 dead.

He killed a 50-year-old man and injured six other victims, before attempting to flee as passers-by threw chairs and other objects to prevent him escaping.

The UAE-born stabbed a German man to death with a kitchen knife and injured other six in an indiscriminate and sudden attack.

In both of these cases, the attackers had been asylum seekers.

Scholz said the suspect should have been deported, a move that was not taken, he said, because the man had no papers. His nationality is still being clarified, police said in a statement.

The website of the Spiegel news magazine said the individual was named Ahmad A., who had arrived in Germany seeking asylum and had contact with the Islamist scene, as well as a history of drug use and mental health problems.

Police overnight searched a refugee center where the perpetrator is believed to have lived, Deutsche Presse Agentur reported.