Major operation in Mannheim: knife assault at anti-Islam rally | EUROtoday

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Major operation in Mannheim
Knife assault at anti-Islam rally

Forensic investigators at the crime scene. Photo: Uwe Anspach/dpa

Forensic investigators on the crime scene. Photo

© Uwe Anspach/dpa

In downtown Mannheim, a person assaults a number of folks with a knife. Among these injured is Michael Stürzenberger, a number one determine within the anti-Islam group Pax Europa.

A person attacked individuals of an anti-Islam rally on Mannheim's market sq. with a knife and injured six folks. A police officer is preventing for his life, mentioned Baden-Württemberg's Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU).

According to authorities, the assault was directed towards individuals of an occasion organized by the anti-Islam group Pax Europa. According to the group's treasurer, Stefanie Kizina, board member Michael Stürzenberger was additionally injured.

The police shot the attacker and he was injured. The state safety division of the Karlsruhe public prosecutor's workplace, which is chargeable for political crimes, is investigating. Strobl mentioned that nothing could possibly be mentioned in regards to the motivation but. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) mentioned: “If the investigation reveals an Islamist motive, then that would be further confirmation of the great danger posed by Islamist acts of violence that we have warned about.”

Mayor speaks of terrorist assault

Mannheim's mayor Christian Specht (CDU) described the knife assault as a terrorist assault. Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke of an murderer and condemned the assault, and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier additionally expressed his dismay.

Pax Europa treasurer Stefanie Kizina mentioned the assault was aimed particularly at Stürzenberger, who was injured within the face with a knife. She defined to the “Bild” newspaper: “He was hit in the leg and face and is undergoing emergency surgery. His life is apparently not in danger.” The 59-year-old is without doubt one of the main figures within the affiliation.

On its web site, Pax Europa makes no distinction between Islam and Islamism – the group attributes “aggressive contempt and intolerance” to each, amongst different issues. In its 2022 report on Stürzenberger and the Bavarian regional affiliation of Pax Europa, the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution wrote that there have been “actual indications” that they have been pursuing “anti-Islamic efforts relevant to the protection of the constitution” “that are aimed at abolishing religious freedom for Muslims.” Stürzenberger and the group now not seem within the company's most up-to-date report for 2023. According to the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, nevertheless, that is solely as a result of they’re much less energetic. Both Stürzenberger and the Bavarian regional affiliation would proceed to be monitored.

Political scientist Stürzenberger, born in 1964 in Bad Kissingen, Bavaria, labored for a few years as a journalist for a number of media shops. At the tip of 2003, he grew to become press spokesman for the CSU in Munich. He later left the CSU and joined the Die Freiheit occasion in 2011, which was quickly recognized by the state's Office for the Protection of the Constitution as an anti-Islamic group. Stürzenberger has appeared a number of instances at occasions organized by the anti-Islamic Pegida motion in Dresden. He additionally organized the Bavarian Pegida offshoot Bagida for a time. In Munich, he and his supporters campaigned towards the development of a mosque.

Video on the Internet reveals knife assault

Shortly after the assault, a video of the crime circulated on the Internet: It reveals a person stabbing a number of folks on the occasion. Bystanders shout: “Put the knife away.” The video additionally reveals an officer taking pictures the attacker. Several law enforcement officials then pinned the suspect to the bottom. According to the police, public prosecutor's workplace and the State Criminal Police Office, one shot was fired.

According to investigators, the police officer who was critically injured had intervened and introduced an injured particular person out of the hazard space when he was stabbed a number of instances within the head from behind by the perpetrator. The different 5 injured individuals are members of Pax Europa.

“It is thanks to the courageous, brave, determined and highly professional intervention of the police that there were no more injuries,” mentioned Strobl. The identification of the perpetrator was initially unknown. The Mannheim market sq. is positioned in the midst of town middle of the 300,000-inhabitant metropolis within the north of Baden-Württemberg.

Investigators mentioned that no assertion could possibly be made in regards to the extent and severity of the accidents of the opposite victims. Rescue staff took the injured to numerous hospitals, the place a few of them underwent emergency surgical procedure. After the incident, the market sq. was cordoned off with crimson and white tape. Screens have been put up and a close-by tram station was closed. A rescue helicopter was additionally deployed to deal with the injured. Investigators secured proof.

Attack triggers dismay

Chancellor Scholz was shocked. “The images from Mannheim are terrible,” he wrote on the X platform. “Several people were seriously injured by an attacker. My thoughts are with the victims. Violence is absolutely unacceptable in our democracy. The perpetrator must be severely punished.”

Federal President Steinmeier was outraged. “I condemn the act in Mannheim in the strongest possible terms!”, his spokeswoman Cerstin Gammelin wrote on Steinmeier's behalf on Platform X. “There must be no room for violence in our democracy – violence destroys democracy. Freedom of expression is a precious asset.” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock mentioned in Hamburg that anybody who thinks they’re doing one thing for this nation by stabbing somebody within the physique is being extraordinarily violent. Hatred and incitement can’t be tolerated, regardless of which course it comes from.”