9 injured in knife attack on bus in Germany, suspect arrested

Members of a bomb disposal team check items at the scene where a knife-wielding man attacked passengers on a bus July 20 in Luebeck, Germany. Authorities feared a bag belonged to the attacker and could contain explosives.
(Christian Schaffrath / EPA/Shutterstock)

A man apparently armed with a knife attacked passengers on a crowded bus Friday in the northern German city of Luebeck before being overpowered and arrested, authorities said. Nine people were reported injured, one seriously.

Authorities had no immediate information on the assailant’s motive for the attack on the city bus in Luebeck, which is near the Baltic coast northeast of Hamburg, but they believed the suspect had no background in terrorism.

Prosecutor Ulla Hingst told n-tv television the driver stopped the bus and let the passengers out after the attack. She said the weapon used was apparently a knife, but that is still under investigation.


Experts also examined a backpack on the bus as a precaution. Hingst said it wasn’t clear whether it belonged to the suspect, but there had been reports of smoke coming out of it.

Police and prosecutors later said in a joint statement that investigators found a flammable substance in the backpack, but no explosives.

They said the suspect was a 34-year-old German citizen who lives in Luebeck. His name wasn’t released, in line with German privacy rules.

“There are no indications that the man was politically radicalized,” the statement added. “There are also no indications at present of a terrorist background.”

Schleswig-Holstein’s state interior minister, Hans-Joachim Grote, said his information was that nine people were injured — six with the knife, two passengers who fell, and the driver, who was punched.

The statement from police and prosecutors said that one of the injured was seriously hurt, and that the total number of injured was unclear.

The bus was traveling from Luebeck to the neighboring seaside resort of Travemuende, where an annual regatta, the Travemuender Woche, was opening later Friday.

Grote said that authorities believe security for the regatta is sufficient.


12:25 p.m.: This article was updated with the number of injured increasing from eight to nine and other additional details.

8:10 a.m.: This article was updated with reports of a knife being identified as the weapon in the case, police examining a backpack and accounts of one serious injury.

This article was originally published at 7:35 a.m.