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Hamburg attacker was known to security forces as Islamist

HAMBURG (Reuters) – The migrant who killed one person and injured six others in a knife attack in a Hamburg supermarket on Friday was an Islamist known to German security forces, who say they believed he posed no immediate threat, the city-state’s interior minister said on Saturday.

A possible security lapse in a second deadly militant attack in less than a year, and two months before the general election, would be highly embarrassing for German intelligence, especially since security is a main theme in the Sept .

24 vote.

A Tunisian failed asylum seeker killed 12 people by driving a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in December, slipping through the net after intelligence officers who had monitored him reached the conclusion he was no threat.

Hamburg Interior Minister Andy Grote told a news conference on Saturday that Friday’s 26-year-old attacker was registered in intelligence systems as an Islamist but not as a jihadist, as there was no evidence to link him to an imminent attack.

He also said the attacker, a Palestinian asylum seeker who could not be deported as he lacked identification documents, was psychologically unstable.

The Palestinian mission in Berlin had agreed to issue him with documents and he had agreed to leave Germany once these were ready, a process that takes a few months.

Security forces and ambulances are seen after a knife attack in a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany, July 28, 2017.Morris Mac Matzen

“What we can say of the motive of the attacker at the moment is that on the one side there are indications that he acted based on religious Islamist motives, and on the other hand there are indications of psychological instability,” Grote said.

“The attacker was known to security forces . There was information that he had been radicalised,” he said.

Police investigators work at the crime scene after a knife attack in a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany, July 28, 2017.Morris Mac Matzen

“As far as we know .. . there were no grounds to assess him as an immediate danger .

He was a suspected Islamist and was recorded as such in the appropriate systems, not as a jihadist but as an Islamist.”

Prosecutors said the attacker pulled a 20-centimetre knife from a shelf at the supermarket and stabbed three people inside and four outside before passers-by threw chairs and other objects at him, allowing police to arrest him.

A 50-year-old man died of his injuries . None of the other six people injured in the attack is in a life-threatening condition.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term in office in September . Her decision in 2015 to open Germany’s doors to more than one million migrants has sparked a debate about the need to spend more on policing and security.

Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri, who could not be deported because he lacked identification documents, carried out his attack at a Christmas market in Berlin in December after security agencies stopped monitoring him because they could not prove suspicions that he was planning to purchase weapons.

Reporting by Frank Witte in Hamburg; Writing by Joseph Nasr in Berlin; Editing by Andrew Bolton

Edinburgh Fringe 2017: Security barriers to be erected at the festival after London and Manchester attacks

  • 1/65 26 July 2017

    UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gestures while posing for a photograph at the Sydney Opera House, in Sydney . Johnson is there to attend AUKMIN, the annual meeting of UK and Australian Foreign and Defence Ministers. Dan Himbrechts

  • 2/65 25 July 2017

    Britain Prime Minister Theresa May walks with her husband Philip in Desenzano del Garda, by the Garda lake, as they holiday in northern Italy

    Antonio Calanni/AFP

  • 3/65 23 July 2017

    England team players pose after winning the ICC Women’s World Cup cricket final between England and India at Lord’s cricket ground in London

    Adrian Dennis/AFP

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    Rajeshwari Gayakwad of India attempts to run out Jenny Gunn of England during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 Final between England and India at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London

    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

  • 5/65 22 July 2017

    Chris Froome, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the twentieth stage of the Tour de France cycling race, an individual time trial over 22.5 kilometers (14 miles) with start and finish in Marseille, France. AP

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    Competitors take part in the swim stage during the AJ Bell London Triathlon 2017 at Royal Victoria Docks in London, England . The 21st annual AJ Bell Triathlon sees 13000 competitors take part in the world’s largest triathlon.

    Getty Images

  • 7/65 21 July 2017

    Environment Secretary Michael Gove looks at screens in the information pod in the forest zone at the WWF Living Planet Centre in Woking, after he told an audience of environmental and countryside organisations that Brexit gives scope for Britain to be a global leader in green policy

    PA

  • 8/65 21 July 2017

    Screen grabbed image taken from video issued by NATS showing air traffic over the UK yesterday at 12:15pm, with red representing departures, yellow arrivals, purple domestic and blue overflights . Air traffic controllers are dealing with the busiest day in the UK’s aviation history . A total of 8,800 planes are to be handled by controllers across the country over 24 hours, at the start of a summer season which is due to see a record 770,000 flights in UK airspace – 40,000 more than last year

    PA

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    Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon shows off his cufflinks after cutting steel on the first Type 26 frigate at BAE System’s Govan Shipyard near Glasgow. PA

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    Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson looks at a bipedal humanoid robot Wabian2 at Research Institute for Science and Engineering at Waseda University’s Kikuicho Campus in Tokyo

    Reuters/Eugene Hoshiko/Pool

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    A damaged road in Coverack, Cornwall, after intense rain caused flash flooding in the coastal village.

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    Prince George holds hands with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they leave Warsaw

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    Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during her visit to the site of Aberdeen Harbour’s expansion into Nigg Bay

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    Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives at Downing Street for the weekly cabinet meeting

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    Daniel Goodfellow and Tom Daley of Great Britain compete during the Men’s Diving 10M Synchro Platform, preliminary round on day four of the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships on July 17, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary

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    Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks to the press upon his arrival at the European Council for the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

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    Switzerland’s Roger Federer holds aloft the winner’s trophy after beating Croatia’s Marin Cilic in their men’s singles final match, during the presentation on the last day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London . Roger Federer won 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. AFP/Getty Images

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    Garbine Muguruza of Spain celebrates victory with the trophy after the Ladies Singles final against Venus Williams of The United States on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon. Getty

  • 19/65 14 July 2017

    The hearse departs St Joseph’s Church after the funeral service for six year old Sunderland FC fan, Bradley Lowery on in Hartlepool, England .

    Bradley was diagnosed with neuroblastoma aged only 18 months . Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects to the Sunderland football supporter who lost his battle with cancer last Friday. Getty Images

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    The EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, receives an Arsenal football top from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels

    Olivier Hoslet/AP

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    A blue whale skeleton forms the main exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London . The 126-year-old skeleton, named ‘Hope’, replaces ‘Dippy’ the Diplodocus dinosaur as the museum’s main exhibit

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    Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh are welcomed to New Scotland Yard by Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick and Metropolitan Police Acting Commissioner, Craig Mackey

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    Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso driving the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8 during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square in London

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  • 24/65 12 July 2017

    Orange Order members march past Ardoyne shops on the Crumlin Road in Belfast as part of the ‘Twelfth of July’ celebrations . The controversial flashpoint has seen many outbreaks of serious public disorder in the past due to contentious parades

    Niall Carson/PA

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    Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May gets up from her seat to deliver a speech on modern working practices at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) in London

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    Cunard cruise liner Queen Elizabeth makes her way into the mouth of the River Mersey on her way to Liverpool past Antony Gormley’s art installation ‘Another Place’ at Crosby, north west England

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    Two fisherman gather fishing pots from the North sea near Whitley Bay with storm clouds overhead as rain is expected across many parts of the UK.

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    Supporters of Charlie Gard hold up placards outside the High Court in central London

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    Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a visit to Borough Market with Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (not pictured) in central London

    Niklas Hallen/AFP/Getty

  • 30/65 10 July 2017

    A Loyalist climbs the Conway street bonfire built in preparation for the 11th night bonfire on July 10, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland . Tradition holds that the bonfires commemorate the lighting of fires on the hills to help Williamite ships navigate through Belfast Lough at night when Protestant King William III and his forces landed at Carrickfergus to fight the Catholic Jacobites, supporters of the exiled Catholic King James II . The bonfires also mark the beginning of the annual 12th of July Orange parades. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

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    A firefighter walks towards the scene of a fire at Camden Market in north London

    Reuters/Hannah McKay

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    Buttermere in the Lake District in Cumbria, as the Lake District has been designated as a World Heritage Site, Unesco has said

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    Jeremy Corbyn leader of the Labour Party stands in the balcony of the County Hotel as colliery bands pass below during the 133rd Durham Miners Gala

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    Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip John May arrive for a concert at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall during the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany

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    AFP/Getty Images

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    Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (R) meets Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney for talks at no 11, Downing Street

    VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images

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    Revellers brave the heat at Wimbledon

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    Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking after being awarded an honorary degree at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh

    AFP/Getty

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    Spectators are led in on day three of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

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    Queen Elizabeth II talks with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during an audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

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    Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, with his wife Kati Mackinlay, leave Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London where he faced charges over his 2015 general election expenses

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    Security staff with dogs before the start of play at Wimbledon

    Reuters

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    Competitors take part in the first ever Ironman triathlon to be held in Scotland . Almost 2000 competitors took part in the grueling swim, cycle and road race which ended in Holyrood park . The swimming section was held at Preston Links in Prestonpans.

    PA

  • 44/65 1 July 2017

    People hold placards reading ‘Wot A DisMay’ and ‘Not One Day More’ as they take part in an anti-austerity demonstration outside Parliament in London, Britain . Tens of thousands of people took part in a demonstration against British Government and called to end austerity, further cuts and privatisation. EPA

  • 45/65 30 June 2017

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    Getty Images

  • 46/65 29 June 2017

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  • 47/65 27 June 2017

    Workers using safety harnesses abseil off Bray Tower on the Chacots Estate in North London . The abseilers were taking measurements and taking notes as they scaled the building . The high-rise Tower blocks in Camden are still in the process of evacuation with some tenants refusing to leave after the cladding on the buildings was discovered to be similar to that found on the fire stricken Grenfell Tower

    Pete Maclaine / i-Images

  • 48/65 27 June 2017

    Workmen start to remove cladding on Hornchurch Court, Hulme, Manchester as as Prime Minister Theresa May has said there must be a “major national investigation” into the use of potentially flammable cladding on high-rise towers across the country over a period of decades in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire

    PA

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    Residents leave their home on the Taplow Block on the Chalcots Estate on June 26, 2017 in London, England . Residents of the Chalcots Estate have been urged to leave their homes due to fire safety fears in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy .

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    Police officers on Romford Road in Forest Gate, east London, as people protest over the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa, who died on June 21 six days after he was stopped in a car by Metropolitan Police officers in Woodcocks, Beckton, in Newham, east London

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    Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses revellers from the Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival

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    British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a news conference at the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 23, 2017

    Reuters

  • 54/65 22 June 2017

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    Reuters

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    The Borough Market bell is seen in Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack

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    Two women embrace in Borough Market, which officially re-opens today following the recent attack, in central London

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    Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attends the re-opening of Borough market in central London following the June 3 terror attack

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    People walk through Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack

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    News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, with one of his daughters, visit Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack

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    A woman reacts in front of a wall of messages in Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack, in central London

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    Vivenne Westwood walks the runway at the Vivenne Westwood show during the London Fashion Week Men’s June 2017 collections

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  • 65/65 11 June 2017

    England players celebrate after defeating Venezuela 1-0 to win the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea 2017 at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea

    AP

  • Tight circle of security officials crafted Trump’s Syria warning

    U.S . Secretary of State Rex Tillerson | Alex Wong/Getty Images

    US national security officials worked on the language in between meetings in a fast-moving effort to send Syria a message.

    By 1 and 2

    6/28/17, 5:03 AM CET

    President Donald Trump s blunt, public warning to the Syrian regime late Monday night was cobbled together in a series of hurried discussions, squeezed in between meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and kept among a small, tight circle of top officials. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson both arrived at the White House late Monday afternoon, ahead of the Rose Garden ceremony at which Trump and Modi each read a prepared statement . Upon the Cabinet members arrival, according to a senior defense official, they were informed of Trump s plan to issue a public warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad, based on new intelligence the Syrian regime3 was preparing another chemical weapons attack on its own people. National security adviser H.R .

    McMaster, who also was at the White House for meetings, had already been briefed and had weighed in on the plan, administration sources said. But no stand-alone principals meeting followed to discuss the intelligence, which Trump received Monday morning, according to two senior administration officials. Rather, over the course of the day, officials said, McMaster, Mattis, Tillerson and a few other top officials had the opportunity to work the language of the statement, in between meetings with Modi . None of them expressed any hesitation or disagreement about the decision to issue a public warning, according to one of the senior administration officials.

    But a Defense Department official acknowledged that the events were fast-moving and that there were minimal deliberations about the bold move and that only a limited number of top military officials were aware of the new intelligence and planned response. The episode marked another example of ongoing frustration between administration rank-and-file and leadership, which this time could carry serious consequences if the backbiting appears to weaken the U.S . government s resolve in turning up the pressure on Assad.

    It hurts American credibility, said Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official who served under Secretary of State John Kerry . When the Syrian regime sees a report that government officials have no idea, the message to them is that these guys don t have their act together . And if nobody at State knows, it hurts your ability to follow up and have a diplomatic game plan.

    But one former Obama administration official shrugged off the issues of communication between the White House and lower-level agency officials.

    There s a broader issue here of effective coordination and communication sometimes the president contradicts his own people, Tom Donilon, President Barack Obama s former national security adviser, said in an interview . But I don t think that s the most important issue here . If, in fact, the United States has evidence that they re preparing a chemical attack, laying down a warning that you intend to follow through on is an appropriate thing to do. The careful language of the 87-word statement which was drafted by the afternoon but not released until close to 10 p.m . was cleared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department and the Defense Department before it was blasted out from the press secretary s office.

    On Tuesday, the White House insisted that military and State Department officials were not blindsided by the statement, which warned Assad that if he launches another chemical weapons attack, he and his military will pay a heavy price.

    In response to several inquiries regarding the Syria statement issued last night, we want to clarify that all relevant agencies including State, DoD, CIA and ODNI were involved in the process from the beginning, the White House said in a statement released Tuesday morning . Anonymous leaks to the contrary are false. Multiple administration officials said people surprised by the statement were simply not senior enough to be clued in and some said they were frustrated that a bold move by Trump, which they believed could save lives, was overshadowed by a side story about leaks and internal disagreements.

    The story seems to be about whether or not a public affairs officer on a regional desk at the State Department was notified in what they would consider to be a timely manner, vented a third White House official . If Tillerson knew and some desk officer in the Middle East section didn t know, they need to take that up with Tillerson . It s not their right to know . It s his prerogative if he wants to share the information.

    The move, and the frustration were reflective of the Trump administration s approach of making key decisions within a close, inner circle unlike the deliberative, and sometimes paralyzingly inclusive, decision making that defined Obama s process. Despite the confusion and complaints over who was looped in and when, foreign policy experts lauded Trump s choice to make a public statement rather than to try to pressure the Syrian regime through diplomatic back channels. The Trump administration realizes they re being dragged into a very dangerous situation, said Jim Jeffrey, a former U.S .

    ambassador to Turkey and Iraq and deputy national security adviser for President George W . Bush . He said the U.S . approach to Assad so far had been a bunch of tit for tats that seemed to have no long-term impact.

    The benefit of a public statement is they re now on record as saying, this shall not happen, Jeffrey added . There was a conscious decision made by the people who realize whatever we want to do in the Middle East, we re going to look like fools if they do this again, and we blow up a few more airplanes . We have to react very strongly to them. Trump s own seeming lack of interest in the issue, though, could also diminish the message s effect on Assad.

    Instead of using the megaphone of his Twitter feed to amplify the White House statement, marked by his press office as urgent, Trump took to Twitter minutes after its release to harp on one of his personal obsessions . From @FoxNews Bombshell: In 2016, Obama dismissed idea that anyone could rig an American election . Check out his statement Witch Hunt ! the president tweeted.

    He s very undisciplined, said Jeffrey . He does this all the time .

    That s a separate problem .

    But what s clear is that in the end, he goes along with what his top advisers tell him.

    Bryan Bender contributed to this report.

    Related stories on these topics:

    References

    1. ^ (www.politico.eu)
    2. ^ (www.politico.eu)
    3. ^ intelligence the Syrian regime (www.politico.eu)