Hamburg Police Tried to Recruit Islamist Supermarket Attacker as Informant

Police cordon off the area around a supermarket in the northern German city of Hamburg, where a man killed one person and wounded several others in a knife attack, on July 28, 2017. 'There is no valid information yet on the motive or the number of people injured' by the …

A new report claims Hamburg police attempted to recruit Ahmad A., the failed Palestinian asylum seeker who killed one and injured several others at a Hamburg supermarket last week, as an informant.

Shortly after the attack, police announced Ahmad A. was known as being part of the Islamist scene in the city though authorities did not believe he was a full-on jihadist.

A new report claims the authorities knew far more about the Islamist killer and that police even tried to recruit him in June last year, Der Spiegel reports.

A member of the intelligence community reached out to Ahmad A. under the guise of being a fellow Islamist, in September 2016 and was asked by Ahmad what was the best way to get to Syria, presumably to fight for a group like Islamic State. The agency then passed on the information to the federal police.

An Islamic State flag was also discovered in the locker of the 26-year-old at the asylum home where he lived, fueling speculation that he is a supporter of the radical Islamic terror group.

Ahmad came to police attention once again in a separate incident when a worker at a “refugee cafe” informed them that Ahmad had come into the cafe wearing a long robe promising that “terror will come here”.

In June, a member of the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) travelled to the asylum home where Ahmad lived to talk about the signs of radicalisation with the asylum home staff. The officer started talking to Ahmad and realised that he had been radicalised and attempted to recruit him to inform on other members of the Hamburg Islamist scene, but failed.

Despite all the evidence of his radicalisation, police have maintained that the failed asylum seeker was motivated by mental illness rather than by terrorist intentions.

Earlier this week, it was also revealed that German authorities had an opportunity to deport Ahmad to Norway (his country of registration as an asylum seeker) under the European Union Dublin agreement. The Germans were unable to deport him because they missed the application deadline by one day and Norway refused to accept him.

The case, along with the case of failed Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri who killed a dozen people at a Berlin Christmas Market in December, has highlighted the difficulties the German government has had with carrying out deportations.

Some reports estimate there are tens of thousands of illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers in Germany; but many, especially those from North Africa and the Middle East, are not deported because they lack documentation or their home countries do not cooperate.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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