Suspected Islamist knife attack thought linked to German election

A knife attacked thought to have been carried out by an Islamist extremist in the western German state of North Rhine Westphalia could be linked to district elections that took place in the region on Sunday, according to investigators.

The father of the 23-year-old victim had been pictured on a campaign poster belonging to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office in Dusseldorf said on Monday.

The 21-year-old suspect is said to have shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before and during the attack, which took place in the town of Stolberg.

At 0:40 am on Sunday (2240 GMT Saturday), hours before polls opened across Germany’s most-populous state, the man allegedly opened the door of a car as it drove past slowly and attacked the driver with a knife.

The 23-year-old victim suffered “serious injuries” and had to undergo emergency surgery, police said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) maintained their dominance on the state’s district councils following the Sunday polls.

The AfD lagged far behind with just 5 per cent of the vote, which was however roughly double what it got in the last elections.

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