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Germany: 14-year-old girl dies after knife attack near Ulm

December 5, 2022

The girl was assaulted by a knife-wielding man on the way to school. Local police have launched an investigation into the incident.

Forensics experts from the Ulm Police, dressed in safety gear, inspect a crime scene in Illerkirchberg, Germany
Police confirmed that three individuals have been arrested in connection to Monday's attackImage: Ralf Zwiebler/z-media/dpa/picture alliance

Police in southern Germany have confirmed that a 14-year-old girl was killed and a 13-year-old suffered serious injuries Monday morning after being attacked on the street on their way to school in the village of Illerkirchberg.

The two girls were attacked around 7:30 a.m. local time by a man reportedly wielding a knife.

Investigators confirmed that early indications were that they were stabbed.

"The 14-year-old had to be reanimated at the scene before she could be taken to the hospital, where, despite all efforts to save her life, she died," police said.

The other girl remains hospitalized with serious but not life-threatening injuries, they added.

Information released about suspect

Police and prosecutors late Monday said the main suspect was a 27-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker. 

Authorities said the man, who is currently hospitalized and under police custody, fled into an asylum shelter after the attack. 

"When police and SWAT teams searched the premises they encountered three residents, all Eritrean asylum seekers," authorities said in a statement.

Police said the man had been in the home before the attack and that he had a knife — believed to be the weapon used in the attack — on him when he was arrested.

The other two men in the shelter were taken in for questioning.

Earlier in the day, police told reporters they intended to conduct "a thorough background investigation," by evening, a spokesperson said it was already "running at top speed." 

No motive has yet been announced. 

The police statement stressed that while such an event could spark fear and emotion, authorities asked that "no general suspicion be harbored against foreigners, refugees or asylum-seekers in general, or that such suspicions be aided or abetted."

German federal, state and local officials decry 'horrible' incident

Local police say the operation, which was carried out with the assistance of a SWAT team, has now ended and there is no longer a threat to the public.

Mayor Markus Häussler, who was at the crime scene all morning, called the situation "horrible" when speaking with the regional Südwest Presse newspaper.  

Häussler said Illerkirchberg — a picturesque baroque village of 5,000 situated south of Ulm at the Baden-Württemberg/Bavaria border halfway between Stuttgart and Munich — is "in a state of shock."

Later in the evening, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) took to Twitter, writing, "I mourn the murdered child and hope with all my heart that the injured girl will return to health." Faeser said her thoughts and prayers were with the families of the two girls. 

Baden-Württemberg state Interior Minister Thomas Strobl lamented that the 14-year-old had been "suddenly torn from life." Strobl, too, offered words of support and condolence to the families and friends of the young girls.

After wishing a full recovery to the surviving girl, the politician promised to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and why.

js/wd (Reuters, dpa)

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