2018 Amsterdam stabbing attack

The 2018 Amsterdam stabbing attack was an attack on 31 August 2018, in Amsterdam Centraal station. A 19-year-old man from Afghanistan stabbed and injured two American tourists. The attacker was shot and injured by the police. Amsterdam Police confirmed that they believe he had a terrorist motive.[3][4][5]

2018 Amsterdam stabbing attack
Part of Islamic terrorism in Europe
Amsterdam Centraal am 19.1.2019 13.jpg
Amsterdam Centraal
LocationAmsterdam, Netherlands
Date31 August 2018
12:10 (CET)
Attack type
Injured2 victims
1 perpetrator
AssailantsJawed Sultani
MotiveRetaliation against "insults to Islam" in Netherlands[1][2]


At around 12:10 local time (CET) on 31 August 2018 a man who had recently arrived by train was observed by security staff in the west side tunnel of Amsterdam Centraal Station.[3] While they were discussing how to approach him, the man pulled out a knife and stabbed one tourist in the back, then attacked a second tourist.[6]

Police officers were 20 m away drew their weapons, and when the perpetrator ran towards another potential victim one of the officers opened fire and brought him down.[6]

The attack lasted nine seconds until the attacker was shot by police.[6] Witnesses reported hearing two gunshots. Policemen ordered the suspect to "stay down" in English. The victims, who were "very badly injured" according to a police spokesman,[3] and the suspect were taken to hospital.[7]


Train services were interrupted and the station, which was very busy on a Friday with many travellers from Amsterdam Schiphol airport, was temporarily closed.[3]

As a result of this attack, on 28 September 2018, the United States Department of State raised its travel advisory for the Netherlands from Level 1 to Level 2.[8][9]


The attacker was identified as 19-year-old Jawed (Jawad) Sultani from Afghanistan, who had a German residency permit.[3][5]

German authorities had rejected his application for asylum, which he had appealed.[10]

Dutch police were in close contact with their German counterparts in regards to the suspect's background.[3] A police spokesman initially stated that Amsterdam police were "seriously taking into account" "a terrorist motive",[3] and this motive was later confirmed by the authorities.[5][11] Dutch authorities said that he was aggrieved against Netherlands and believed that "the Prophet Muhammad, the Quran, Islam and Allah are repeatedly insulted" in the country, specifically referring to Geert Wilders.[12]


The victims were Americans with an Eritrean background who were in the country for a few days with their wives.[13] They released a message of thanks via the US Embassy in Amsterdam. They thanked the Dutch police at the scene for their quick actions and for saving their lives as well as later support they received from police units and hospital staff. The US Embassy asked that the privacy of the victims be respected.[14]


The public prosecutor demanded 25 years imprisonment for two attempted murders with terrorist intent. Describing the attacks as ‘shocking’, the public prosecutor said that the impact had been enormous. ‘The random choice of victims is especially frightening,’ he said. ‘He has not shown any remorse and would even appear to be a little proud of what he did.' 'But I assure you', he continued, 'the Dutch government will never give in to terrorism. In this country, discussions are conducted with words, not with knives.’[15]

"The appeals court calls it a cowardly attack,'' it said in a statement, adding that "it is thanks to the very fast response of the police that there weren't more victims."

The Amsterdam District Court found S. guilty of two attempted murders with terrorist intent and threatening three police officers, and sentenced him to 26 years and 8 months imprisonment.[16]

The court said he took a train from Germany to the Dutch capital to avenge what he perceived as insults to Islam and did not know his victims were Americans.

The attacker is said to have only expressed remorse during his appeals case, but judges were unconvinced by his sincerity and "saw it as a way to reduce his sentence".

The two American victims were able to follow the appeals hearing via a video link.

The attacker was ordered to pay them a total of nearly €3 million euros in damages.


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Insults to Islam reportedly motivated Amsterdam railway station attack". 4 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Police investigate possible terror link to double stabbing at Amsterdam station, The Telegraph, 1 September 2018
  4. ^ Las dos víctimas del apuñalamiento del viernes en Ámsterdam son ciudadanas de EEUU, Europapress, 1 September 2018
  5. ^ a b c Amsterdam Stabbing Victims Identified as U.S. Citizens, New York Times, 1 September 2018
  6. ^ a b c "Jihadist knifeman shot in nine seconds". BBC News. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  7. ^ Amsterdam station attack: Police shoot suspect after stabbing in Dutch capital, The Independent, 31 August 2018
  8. ^ "US government steps up travel advice after Amsterdam terrorist stabbing". Dutch News. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  9. ^ Esman, Abigail (24 October 2018). "Attack, ensuing travel warning expose depth of Netherlands' terror threat". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Knivman i Amsterdam ville hämnas skymfandet av islam". svenska.yle.fi (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  11. ^ Cullen, Simon (1 September 2018). "'Terrorist motive' cited in Amsterdam knife attack on 2 Americans". CNN. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  12. ^ https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-09-03/suspect-in-stabbing-of-americans-believes-dutch-insult-islam[bare URL]
  13. ^ "DPG Media Privacy Gate".
  14. ^ "Statement Regarding the Attack on U.S. Citizens in Amsterdam | U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands". U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  15. ^ "OM eist 25 jaar tegen Jawed S. voor neersteken toeristen op Amsterdam CS". nos.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Jawed S. veroordeeld tot ruim 26 jaar cel voor aanslag op Amsterdam CS". NU (in Dutch). 14 October 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2021.

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