BERLIN: German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Wednesday warned of the perils of “Islamist violence” after a knife attack in the city of Dresden earlier in the month.

“This act once again demonstrates the danger of Islamist violence. Whatever the form of extremism and terrorism, the utmost vigilance is called for,” Seehofer said.

Prosecutors said they suspect a 20-year-old Syrian man with an Islamist background of carrying out the deadly attack, which killed one tourist and seriously injured another on October 4.The knife attack that killed one tourist and seriously injured another in the German city of Dresden two weeks ago is being treated as a terrorist attack, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

A 20-year-old Syrian man was arrested on Tuesday evening and is believed to have an Islamist background, federal prosecutors in the city of Karlsruhe said.

The suspect allegedly attacked the two tourists, who had travelled together from North Rhine-Westphalia, on October 4.

One of them, a 55-year-old man, later died from his injuries in hospital.

The other, aged 53, survived with serious injuries.

The suspect has a long criminal record including charges of soliciting support for a foreign terrorist organisation, obtaining instructions to commit a serious act of violence endangering the state, bodily injury and threats.

Police and the public prosecutor’s office in Dresden reported that the examination of evidence had led to the Syrian man.

“Islamist terror is an ongoing major threat to our society, which we must fight against with all our might,” Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said.

According to a report in the Bild tabloid, the Syrian man’s DNA was detected on the knife, which police found near the scene of the crime in the city centre.

The suspect’s DNA was already stored in police databases, the report said.

People with ties to Islamist extremism have committed several violent attacks in Germany, the deadliest being a truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that killed 12 people.

The Tunisian attacker, a failed asylum seeker, was a supporter of the militant Islamic State group.

Since 2013, the number of Islamists considered dangerous in Germany has increased fivefold to 680, according to security services.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2020