A man who rammed several vehicles on a motorway in Berlin is being investigated for what prosecutors say was “an Islamist-motivated attack”.
Three people were seriously injured when the suspect’s car collided with vehicles on the A100 motorway shortly before 19:00 (17:00 GMT) on Tuesday evening.
Witnesses said the 30-year-old Iraqi suspect claimed to have a “dangerous object” in a box of ammunition. Nothing was later found inside.
The man is said to have deliberately caused three crashes on the road near the centre of Berlin. One involved a motorcyclist whose motorbike was rammed into a car. The motorcyclist is reportedly in a life-threatening condition. The three occupants of the car were also hurt.
Prosecutors are investigating the attack as having either a political or religious motive but they have not ruled out psychological issues. “Because of the circumstances we don’t see this as a random accident,” the Berlin prosecutor’s spokesperson said on Wednesday. “Latest indications point to an Islamist-motivated attack.”
After the crashes, the man was said to have placed a metal box on the road. According to sources quoted by the Tagesspiegel website, he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and “Nobody come closer or else you’ll die.”
Named by German media as Samrad A, the suspect lives in refugee accommodation and reports suggest he may have been radicalised there. He is expected to face three charges of attempted murder.
The series of accidents on the A100 caused three hours of closures on the motorway on Tuesday, including on the central Kurfürstendamm. The centre of Berlin was targeted in December 2016, when Islamist militant Anis Amri drove a truck into a crowded Christmas market, killing 12 people and leaving 49 others injured. Amri fled to the northern Italian city of Milan, where he was shot dead by police.
Amri, a Tunisian, had spent several years in jail in Italy.