Frankfurt am Main (AFP) – German authorities Tuesday held on suspicion of attempted murder a Syrian man who hijacked an articulated lorry and smashed it into cars stopped at a traffic light in the city of Limburg, injuring several people.
The 32-year-old will remain in custody, suspected of attempted murder and bodily harm as well as a traffic offence, Frankfurt prosecutors told AFP.
Earlier Tuesday, the investigators had said in a statement that their probe into the motive for the unnamed suspect’s act was “ongoing” and they were “pursuing all leads”.
Unconfirmed media reports said the Syrian national arrived with the massive migrant influx to Germany in 2015 and that his residency permit had expired on October 1.
Germany has been on alert following several jihadist attacks in recent years claimed by the Islamic State group.
The most deadly was committed in 2016 by a 23-year-old Tunisian, who killed 12 people when he stole a truck and ploughed it through a Berlin Christmas market.
However the authorities remained cautious.
A spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe, which usually takes over terror probes, said it was for now leaving the case to Frankfurt.
And Hesse state interior minister Peter Beuth urged people not to jump to conclusions.
“Although the events recall the horrible attacks in Nice and Berlin, the motive of the detained man remains unclear,” he said.
He added that security authorities had, as yet, found “no links to the violent Islamist scene”.
The white articulated lorry slammed into seven cars and a van idling at a red light opposite the courthouse in Limburg, western Germany late Monday afternoon, crushing them together.
Nine people were slightly injured, including the driver of the stolen vehicle, who was immediately taken into custody by police officers who happened to be on the scene.
– ‘Didn’t say a word’ –
News agency DPA, citing security sources, said the suspect was known to the police for drug offences and grievous bodily harm.
Police searched two apartments linked to the suspect overnight and collected possible evidence including mobile phones and USB sticks.