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World

Swiss Train Attack Suspect, Female Victim Die of Wounds

Five passengers on the train were wounded in the attack and a sixth person on the train platform, the 50-year-old man, was wounded as he pulled the burning suspect off the train

A police car stands at the train station following an attack onboard, in Salez, Switzerland, photo: Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP
1 year ago

The man who attacked passengers on a crowded Swiss train with a knife and burning liquid died of his wounds Sunday, as did one of his victims, a 34-year-old woman, Swiss police said. Three others remain hospitalized with serious wounds.

Police are still searching for a motive but said there’s no indication the suspect, identified only as a 27-year-old Swiss man from a neighboring region, had ties to extremist groups.

A 43-year-old woman, a 6-year-old girl and 17-year-old girl remained hospitalized Sunday with serious injuries, one in critical condition, St. Gallen canton (state) police spokesman Hans-Peter Kruesi said. A 17-year-old youth and 50-year-old man wounded in the attack have been treated and released, he said.

Kruesi said all the victims lived in the St. Gallen canton.

Swiss police searched the suspect’s home after the Saturday afternoon attack on the train as it neared the station in Salez, close to the Liechtenstein border. Kruesi would not comment on what evidence was seized at the home, but said “so far there are no indications this was a terrorist or politically motivated crime.”

Police were not able to question the suspect before he died, Kruesi said, adding that the man had no criminal record and was not previously known to police.

According to a video of the attack evaluated by police, the assailant acted alone, attacking passengers on the train between Buchs and Sennwald with a knife and then burning liquid, which is now being analyzed by a police forensics team.

The train driver was being credited with quick thinking, continuing into the Salez station before stopping, a move that allowed police and rescue crews to get on board easier.

Five passengers on the train were wounded in the attack and a sixth person on the train platform, the 50-year-old man, was wounded as he pulled the burning suspect off the train, police said. The 50-year-old was treated for smoke inhalation and burns, Kruesi said.

The Swiss train attack again illustrates how difficult it is for authorities to protect the continent’s labyrinthine transport system, particularly against individuals wielding unsophisticated weapons.

Last month in neighboring Germany, a 17-year-old refugee from Afghanistan used an ax and a knife to wound four tourists on a train, and stabbed a woman as he fled. The attacker was shot and killed by police. All his victims survived.

In May at a train station in the German state of Bavaria, a 27-year-old German man who had been in psychiatric care stabbed commuters, killing one and wounding three others before being apprehended by police.

Last year, a heavily armed gunman opened fire on a high-speed Amsterdam to Paris train but was overpowered by two young American servicemen and their companion.

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