Reports suggest the Hamburg knife killer has boasted that he wanted to be a “terrorist” — but German police are reluctant to accept his confession and seeking to establish that he was mentally ill instead.The Süddeustche Zeitung reports that the 26-year-old killer, a Palestinian migrant who was at large in the country despite a terror investigation, the rejection of his asylum claim, and an enthusiastic willingness to be returned to Gaza, told the authorities “It is important to be a ‘terrorist’.”
Ahmad A — whose real, full name has not been released due to German privacy laws — is said to have been radicalised at an unruly migrant shelter which is known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism subject to mass raids by the authorities.
A friend described how the suspect “began to change” one month before the rampage, in which he killed one and injured six others while screaming “Allahu Akbar”.
“He suddenly prayed loudly in the hallway and was very aggressive. He was shouting at people in English: ‘The West is killing Muslims all over the world’,” said Yassar al-Adaoui Mustafa.
City interior minister Andy Grote has previously offered an unusual justification for the reluctance to accept the attack was terrorism, saying the suspect was “known as an Islamist but not a jihadist”.
The killer was even entered on a database of known extremists.
Authorities have similarly insisted that nightclub shooting in Constance, which left one dead in and three seriously injured, was not terror-related.
The gunman — killed in a shoot-out with police in which an officer was also wounded — was an Iraqi migrant with a record of violent crime and drug offences.
Witnesses describe him opening firing “indiscriminately” but police believe he intended a targeted revenge attack following an argument with staff.