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Germany: Dresden attack’s suspected “radical Islamic background” under investigation – govt spox

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A federal prosecutor has taken over the investigation of the deadly knife attack in Dresden on October 4, as authorities suspect the alleged attacker has ‘a radical Islamic background’, German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said during the biweekly press conference held in Berlin on Friday.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Bjoern Gruenewaelder said deportations of “criminals and persons that are likely to threaten public safety” to Syria will remain suspended until the end of the year following a vote in June.

“This could only be done when the person is not threatened by dangers for life and limb,” he said.

The Interior Ministry spokesperson added, “States have rated 620 people to be likely to threaten public safety for Islamic radicalism. Of those, about 350 are in Germany, as of late June.”

On October 4th, a man stabbed two tourists in downtown Dresden. A 55-year-old died while a 53-year-old from Cologne survived with serious injuries.

The suspect of the attack had applied for asylum in May 2016, which was revoked due to a criminal conviction, and had, however, remained in the country due to a ban on deportations. He was arrested on Tuesday.

Seibert also addressed the issue of German Health Minister Jens Spahn recently testing positive for coronavirus, saying the safety of the working conditions of the Federal Chancellery has been ‘optimised’ and ‘evaluated’ by the health authorities.

“That is why testing the whole federal cabinet is not necessary in correlation with the infection of minister Spahn”, Seibert said.

*SOUNDBITES*

SOT, Steffen Seibert, German government spokesperson, (German): “For the federal government I would like to say that a horrid crime was committed on October 4th. Tragically, one of the victims of the attack has died of his injuries.”

SOT, Steffen Seibert, German government spokesperson, (German): “Because there is an Islamic suspicion, a suspicion of a radical Islamic background, the general prosecutor has taken over the investigations.”

SOT, Steffen Seibert, German government spokesperson, (German): “​If this suspicion comes true, then we would have to realise again, how dangerous Islamic fanatics willing to resort to violence are.”

SOT, Bjoern Gruenewaelder, Spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, (German): “He [Horst Seehofer] has indicated, that the federal Interior Ministry generally welcomes the ability to deport criminals and persons that are likely to threaten public safety, but that this could only be done when the person is not threatened by dangers for life and limb.”

SOT, Bjoern Gruenewaelder, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, (German): “With that said, the last interior ministers conference from June this year has extended the deportation stop to Syria until the end of this year.”

SOT, Bjoern Gruenewaelder, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, (German): “At the moment the [German] states have rated 620 people to be likely to threaten public safety for Islamic radicalism. Of those, about 350 are in Germany, as of late June.”

SOT, Steffen Seibert, German government spokesperson, (German): “The federal cabinet is in session by obeying the hygienic and social distancing rules. Those tend to not make a quarantine for all necessary despite a participation of a person that is later tested positive with coronavirus.”

SOT, Steffen Seibert, German government spokesperson, (German): “We are in session in the international conference room of the federal chancellery. The conditions there have been optimised specifically in regards to the infection protection. This has been evaluated by the Berlin health authority in Mitte. That is why testing the whole federal cabinet is not necessary in correlation with the infection of minister Spahn.”

SOT, Sebastian Guelde, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, (German): “We still expect that a vaccine will be available earliest by the beginning of next year. Of course, this will not be made available for everyone immediately. Therefore, we assigned the STIKO [Standing committee on vaccines] of the Robert Koch Institute together with Leopoldina and the German Ethics Council to develop a priority concept.”

Video ID: 20201023-055

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