‘Jihadist Background’: Two Injured in Suspected Switzerland Terror Attack Stabbing

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Two people were injured and one person arrested at a suspected terror attack at a Swiss department store on Tuesday.

Swiss police said a stabbing in a shopping area on Tuesday afternoon in the Italian-speaking city of Lugano is being investigated as a potential terrorist attack, and that the prime suspect arrested at the scene had a background of jihadist extremism.

A 28-year-old woman, reported to be a Swiss citizen living locally, attacked two women at the Lugano department store on Tuesday. Swiss media RTS reports she grabbed one around the neck, and stabbed the other with the knife.

One victim has serious but not life-threatening injuries. The attacker was detained by passers-by who waited for police to arrive.

Swiss police gave a press conference Tuesday evening, revealing that the knife attack was more than random violence, and may have had a terrorist motive. The suspect was already known to police, and was the subject of a jihadist radicalisation investigation in 2017.

Germany’s Deutsche Welle broadcaster provided further information, reporting that witnesses to the attack had claimed the perpetrator claimed allegiance to the Islamic State while being detained. Mainstream Swiss source 20Minutes reports claims that the suspect shouted “Allahu Akhbar”. These claims have not been confirmed or denied by Swiss authorities yet.

The suspected attack comes after several other deadly attacks in Europe, including most recently attacks in France and Austria. While in the past Western leaders have responded to mass casualty attacks with expressions of solidarity in public while running counter-terrorism in private, recently condemnations have been more forceful.

Austria’s Sebastian Kurz, whose own nation was recently targeted with a deadly Islamist gun attack, was the first among international leaders to  condemn the attack. He took to Twitter on Tuesday night to write that Austria stood with Switzerland and that there would be a “joint response to Islamist terrorism” in Europe.

Kurz met with France’s Emmanuel Macron earlier this month to discuss their joint response to terror attacks. Speaking at the time of the meeting, Kurz warned there were “thousands” of foreign fighters in the EU and said that European peoples were in “constant danger” from terror attacks.

The two leaders said they would focus on strengthening Europe’s external borders, noting that if public trust in such protections failed, Europe’s open internal borders would begin to close as a result.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.