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Syrian kills woman in Germany machete attack

By AFP - Jul 25,2016 - Last updated at Jul 25,2016

Police forensic experts work at the scene where a 21-year-old Syrian refugee killed a woman with a machete and injured two other people in the city of Reutlingen, Germany, Sunday (Reuters photo)

REUTLINGEN, Germany —A Syrian asylum-seeker was arrested after killing a woman with a machete in the southwest German city of Reutlingen, in an incident police said did not bear the hallmarks of a "terrorist attack" and could have been a crime of passion.

Two people were also injured in the assault, which ended when the 21-year-old assailant was hit by a car and which sparked fresh jitters in a country still reeling from other deadly attacks on civilians in recent days.

"At this stage of the enquiry we have nothing to indicate this was a terrorist attack," local police said in a statement, adding that the attack happened after the perpetrator "had a dispute" with the woman.

After killing her with a machete, the suspect then injured a man and woman before being arrested, it said.

The incident took place in the centre of Reutlingen, a city of some 100,000 located near Stuttgart, at around 4:30pm (1430 GMT).

The attacker was "known to police", the statement added.

German news agency DPA reported that police were working under the assumption that the machete attack was a crime of passion.

"When a man and woman have an argument, we assume that we are dealing with a crime of passion," a local police spokesman told DPA, after media reported that the attacker and the murdered woman were close and worked in the same snack bar.

The bloodshed sparked scenes of panic in the city, NTV news channel reported, in a country still on edge following Friday's mass shooting in Munich, where a German-Iranian teenager killed nine people and injured 19 others before committing suicide.

It also comes six days after a teenage asylum seeker went on a rampage with an axe and a knife on a regional train near the southern city of Wuerzburg, injuring five people.


Stopped by BMW


A police spokesman said he could not confirm a story in tabloid newspaper Bild that the woman killed in the machete attack was pregnant. The paper said she worked as a cleaner in a local restaurant.

Bild also showed on its website video footage of police leading away a bearded man clad in a dark T-shirt and jeans with his head bandaged.

NTV showed amateur video footage of the man running away from the scene before cutting to him lying on the ground, his face bloodied and his hands cuffed by police.

A police spokesman told AFP the man had "been hit by a BMW as he fled," but could not say if the driver had deliberately run the man down, as some media were initially reporting, or if he had been struck by accident.

Pictures from the scene showed forensic police sealing off the area and erecting a tent over the white BMW.

"According to the information available, the perpetrator acted alone, the people of Reutlingen and its surroundings are very probably not in danger," the police statement added.

"The perpetrator was fortunately arrested and no longer represents any danger," said regional interior minister Thomas Strobl, seeking to reassure Germans after the third bloody attack in the country in less than a week.

According to police, the 18-year-old Munich attacker is believed to have been "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Daesh terror group.

Authorities investigating the axe rampage in Wuerzburg said the teen responsible was thought to be a "lone wolf" who was "inspired" by Daesh without being a member of the network.


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