Police shoot at knife-wielding man at Berlin Cathedral, ‘terrorism’ ruled out
A policeman shot the knife-wielding man at the Berliner Dom in the legs.Updated: Jun 03, 2018 23:57 IST
Police shot and wounded a knife-wielding man inside Berlin’s main cathedral today but said there was no indication the assailant had a “terrorist” motive.
Officers cordoned off the entrances to the landmark in the heart of the German capital after the incident, in which one policeman was also hurt by what was believed to be a police bullet.
About 100 people were visiting the cathedral at the time of the incident and had been evacuated by staff by the time two police officers arrived at the scene. “Shortly after 4 pm (1400 GMT) police shot at a rampaging man at Berlin Cathedral,” police said in a tweet.
“He was wounded in the leg.”
Both the assailant and the officer were being treated in hospital.
A spokesman later added that the man was a 53-year-old Austrian who had been brandishing a knife and was “verbally aggressive”. When the two officers arrived at the scene, the man was at the altar.
Witnesses told local media that the man appeared “very confused”. The iron-domed Protestant cathedral, one of the city’s top tourist attractions, is on Museum Island off east Berlin’s main Unter den Linden boulevard and close to the Alexanderplatz shopping district.
“Based on what we know so far, we have no information that the suspect in any way had a terrorist or Islamist motive,” a police spokesman said.
An AFP reporter said the entrances to the building were blocked off with red-and-white police tape and several officers with automatic weapons were patrolling the scene.
DPA news agency said some witnesses were taken away to receive psychological counselling.
The shooting comes with authorities in a state of high alert for jihadist attacks after several assaults claimed by the Islamic State group in the country.
Like other European nations, Germany remains a target for Islamist militant groups, in particular because of its involvement in the coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, and its deployment in Afghanistan since 2001.
In the worst jihadist attack in the country to date, Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri rammed a truck into crowds at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, killing 12.
The assault occurred in the shadow of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a war-damaged landmark in the west of the capital.