Hamburg knife attacker was born in the UAE: German police

Police investigators work at the area around a supermarket in the northern German city of Hamburg, where a man killed one person and wounded several others in a knife attack, on Friday. (AFP / dpa / Markus Scholz)
Updated 29 July 2017
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Hamburg knife attacker was born in the UAE: German police

HAMBURG: The attacker who killed one person and injured four others in a Hamburg supermarket Friday is a 26-year-old man born in the United Arab Emirates, police said in a statement.
Police added that they have yet to determine the nationality of the perpetrator, who stabbed a 50-year-old man to death and wounded six others.
As a knife-wielding man sought to flee after killing one and injuring several at the supermarket, several passers-by gave chase and tackled him to the ground, said witnesses of the chaotic scenes Friday.
“People ran after the attacker and threw chairs at him,” 18-year-old Shaylin Roettmer told the national news agency DPA.
Police also confirmed that they were alerted to the attack by witnesses, who had given chase and overpowered the as-yet unidentified suspect.
Plainclothes officers were able to capture the man, who was lightly injured.
The man had struck on Friday afternoon at a popular supermarket on a busy high street in the northeast of Hamburg, Germany’s second city and host of early July’s G20 summit of world leaders.
He stormed into the supermarket with a “huge knife,” an unnamed woman told rolling news channel NTV, gesturing to show that the weapon was about 50 centimeters (20 inches) long.
“I thought I was in a horror movie, I thought he would kill me,” she said.
She said she feared she would die, as she was “queueing for the till and couldn’t get away.”
“As he was running out... he held up his arms and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’,” she added.
On the run, the suspect struck a young girl on the street, another witness told NTV.
Hamburg resident Remo Pollio, meanwhile, told DPA that as the man was running away, “he held up the knife and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, he did that twice.”
Ralph Woyna corroborated Pollio’s account.
A police spokeswoman said she was unable to confirm the “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) accounts.
Meanwhile, police helicopters were rattling overhead as officers blocked off the high street.
Officers armed with automatic rifles were also patrolling the streets.
“It was really shocking,” said Omar, who runs a newspaper stand.


US says ‘committed’ to defeating Daesh; allies skeptical

Some of the 20 ministers, including those from the US, France, Britain, and Germany, pose for a photo prior to the 55th Munich Security Conference in southern Germany, on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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US says ‘committed’ to defeating Daesh; allies skeptical

  • Acting US Defense Secretary Shanahan envisions a ‘bigger and stronger’ coalition to fight Daesh globally

MUNICH: Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Friday that the US is committed to defeating Daesh in the Middle East and beyond, but officials said European allies are skeptical of Washington’s pledges.
US President Donald Trump’s announcement in December that he was withdrawing all 2,000 US troops from Syria surprised and rattled allies. US officials have crisscrossed the Middle East in recent weeks to reassure them that Washington remains committed to the region.
Trump’s Syria decision was opposed by top aides, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit, leaving his deputy Shanahan in charge of the Pentagon.
“While the time for US troops on the ground in northeast Syria winds down, the United States remains committed to our coalition’s cause, the permanent defeat of Daesh, both in the Middle East and beyond,” Shanahan said after a meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
The meeting included about a dozen defense ministers from the coalition to defeat Daesh. Kurdish-led fighters are battling to capture Daesh’s last major stronghold in Syria, but even without territory, the militant group is widely seen as a continuing threat.
Shanahan said he envisioned a “bigger and stronger” coalition to fight Daesh globally. “We will continue to support our local partners’ ability to stand up to the remnants of Daesh,” he added.
However, European officials said they were given few details during the closed-door meeting in Munich and many questions remain. “We are still trying to understand how the Americans plan to withdraw. I don’t think there is any clarity still,” one European official, speaking on the condition of anonymity said.
Another official said Shanahan did not provide allies with a timeline of the American withdrawal from Syria and allies expressed skepticism during the meeting. A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no commitments were made during the meeting and there was little discussion about timelines.
“These meetings don’t tend to have specific deliverables or decisions, it tends to be more focused on taking stock of where we are,” the US official said.
Trump has said he expects a formal announcement as early as this week that the coalition fighting Daesh has reclaimed all the territory held by the group.
Around 20 ministers including those from the US, France, Britain, and Germany will take part in the meeting, according to one source.
US forces are the largest contributors by far to the anti-Daesh coalition and their pullout will leave a vacuum in Syria where major powers are jostling for influence.

Withdrawal issue
“The withdrawal of the American troops from Syria will evidently be at the heart of discussions,” said French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly before the meeting.
“Once the so-called caliphate no longer has any territory, the international community will have to guarantee that there will be no resurgence of Daesh in Syria or elsewhere,” her ministry’s statement said.
The end of Daesh territory in Syria is heightening worries about experienced militants and foreign fighters escaping and forming new Daesh cells in Syria or beyond.
Once American forces leave, another complication emerges: The future of areas in northern Syria controlled by Kurdish YPG forces, a key US ally in the fight against militants but a militia branded terrorists by Turkey.