BERLIN — A 26-year-old man born in the United Arab Emirates used a large knife Friday afternoon to stab several people, one of them fatally, in and near a supermarket in Hamburg, a northern German port city, authorities said.
Hamburg police said the man was acting alone. They said they could not confirm a motive; a commission has been set up to investigate.
German media reported that the man had Islamist views and was known to authorities. Der Tagesspiegel, a daily based in Berlin, said the suspect was of Palestinian ethnicity and had come to Germany seeking asylum. Eyewitnesses told reporters that he shouted “God is great” in Arabic during the attack.
Authorities said the suspect tried to flee but was overcome by eyewitnesses, who restrained him until police arrived on the scene. He had light injuries at the time of his arrest, they said.
The person killed was 50-years-old, authorities said. Four men, ages 19 to 64, and one 50-year-old woman suffered stabbing wounds. A sixth person, 35, was injured while attempting to overcome the suspect.
The mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, condemned the "malicious attack" saying he was "furious that the offender is obviously someone who claimed protection from us in Germany and then directed his hatred against us."
Scholz said the suspect should have been deported, a move that was not taken, he said, because the man had no papers.
Hamburg has been a focus of global attention this month as the site of the Group of 20 Economic Summit, which took place July 7-8. The city’s police force was tested by mass anti-capitalist demonstrations that turned violent in parts of the city. Numerous officers were injured.
Friday’s attack unfolded in Barmbek, a hardscrabble area with many immigrants, about three miles from the city center.
Germany has seen a sequence of attacks over the last year. The worst in decades unfolded shortly before Christmas in 2016, when Anis Amri, a Tunisian and failed asylum seeker, drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin. Twelve people died, and the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Alexandra Rojkov contributed to this report.