2016 Reutlingen knife attack

On 24 July 2016, a Syrian asylum seeker armed with a döner knife attacked his girlfriend and bystanders in Reutlingen, Germany, killing his girlfriend, a Polish woman, and wounding two other people in the forearm and head, before being struck accidentally by a car and arrested by police.[2]

Reutlingen knife attack
Reutlingen 04 (RaBoe).jpg
A street in Reutlingen
LocationReutlingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Date24 July 2016 (2016-07-24)
Attack type
WeaponsDöner knife[1]
Injured3 (including the attacker)
PerpetratorA Syrian asylum-seeker


The attack took place around 16:30 CEST (14:30 UTC) by a kebab shop where the perpetrator, a 21-year old Syrian asylum-seeker, and his 45-year old victim both worked, and from where he retrieved the weapon.[3][4][5]

The attacker and the victim had an argument before the attack. The attacker then killed her with the weapon he retrieved from the shop and also injured another woman and a man. He was subdued by the police after he was accidentally hit by a car whose driver was distracted by the surrounding commotion.[6][7]

The Polish embassy confirmed that the victim, was Polish and claimed she was pregnant.[8] Police are investigating under the assumption that it was a personal quarrel between the assailant and the dead woman.[9]


The assailant was identified as a 21-year-old asylum seeker from Syria who had migrated to Germany about one-and-a-half years before the attack. He worked at the same Turkish kebab shop where the pregnant victim worked.[3][10] He was known to police and was previously arrested for causing bodily harm.[11] He had lived in a home in the town for seven months. One of his former roommates identified his first name as Mohamed and described him as an alcoholic who was feared by his other roommates. He also said that the attacker was in a relationship with the victim and both had previously lived together in a refugee camp.[12]

Trial and sentencingEdit

The perpetrator was tried and sentenced to life in prison.[13][14]


This attack, one of four violent crimes, including the Ansbach bombing, committed by people of Middle Eastern background during the week of 18 July 2016 – three of them committed by asylum seekers – created significant political pressure for changes in the German government policy of welcoming refugees.[15][16][17] According to The Washington Times, the attacks increased public fears that Islamist terrorist attacks of the kind that took place in France in 2015 and 2016 could happen in Germany.[16] Florian Otto, a risk consultant from Maplecroft, said the attacks are likely to inflame anti-immigration sentiment in the country, creating a challenge for the Merkel government's policies.[15]

Kenan Malik describes the attack pointing up "the difficulty... in drawing a distinction between jihadi violence and the fury of disturbed minds."[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Tatwaffe von Reutlingen war ein Dönermesser", by Deutsche Presse-Agentur, via Reutlinger General-Anzeiger
  2. ^ Janjevic, Darko (25 July 2016). "Police arrest Syrian man after woman killed in knife attack in Germany". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 25 July 2016. An attacker has allegedly killed one woman and injured five in the city of Reutlingen in southwest Germany, according to local police.
  3. ^ a b Weise, Zia (24 July 2016). "Germany machete attack: Syrian asylum seeker murders 'pregnant' woman in Reutlingen". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  4. ^ Mayjeyes, Toby (24 July 2016). "Woman killed and two injured in machete attack in Germany". Metro (British newspaper). Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Germany machete attack: Syria migrant kills woman" (25 July 2016). BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Der Täter hat bei der Polizei erste Aussagen gemacht / Verdacht auf psychische Probleme". tagblatt.de. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Reutlingen: Die Polizei musste den Täter nach dem Angriff beschützen - WELT". welt.de. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Man with machete kills woman in southern Germany". The Guardian. 24 July 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  9. ^ "One dead, three injured in machete attack in German city of Reutlingen, police say". ABC News. 25 July 2016.
  10. ^ Eddy, Melissa (24 July 2016). "Syrian Refugee Arrested in Germany After Fatal Machete Attack". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Germany: Syrian arrested after deadly machete attack". Al Jazeera. Reuters. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Er stoppte den Macheten-Mann | Das ist der Held von Reutlingen" [He stopped the machete man | This is the hero of Reutlingen]. Bild. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  13. ^ "German court sentences 'kebab shop murderer' to life". Deutsche Welle. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  14. ^ "German court sentences Syrian to life for killing girlfriend". India.com. AP. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  15. ^ a b "German Refugee Policy Under Fire After a Week of Bloodshed". New York Times. AP. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  16. ^ a b Costello, Patrick (25 July 2016). "Terror attacks shake German citizenry anxious about open-door immigration policy". The Washington Times. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  17. ^ Hooper, Melissa (10 January 2017). "Recent attacks underscore need to rethink refugee resettlement". The Hill. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  18. ^ Malik, Kenan (25 March 2017). "How can we distinguish violence driven by ideology from sociopathic rage?". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2017.