The citizens of northern Bavaria, Germany met with tragedy yesterday when a teenager attacked passengers on a train, wielding a knife and axe. Being called the “Würzburg Axe Attack” due to where the train stopped, this unfortunate incident was allegedly perpetrated by a man named Muhammad Riyad, who remains the only fatality as of yet. Those struggling to make sense of the past 24 hours likely have a lot of questions, and a search of every possible related term such as, “Muhammad Riyad Germany train axe attack ISIS” may not make things much clearer. Who is Muhammad Riyad? What did the Amaq news agency reveal? Here are four facts that we know at this time.

About the Attack

On Monday evening at around 7:15 p.m. GMT in Germany, a teenager brandishing an axe and a knife boarded a train traveling between Treuchlingen and Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany. Shortly after the train reached Würzburg, the teen pulled out his weapons and began attacking people. Upon leaving the train, which was described as resembling a “slaughterhouse” by the end of the attack by witnesses, the attacker made an effort to flee, but was shot and killed by police.

People Were Injured

At this time, the assailant is the only fatality. However, around 20 people were injured in the attack, four more seriously than the rest, and many others onboard the train had to be treated for shock. The four suffering from major injuries (two of which are in critical condition) are all part of the same group; a group of tourists from Hong Kong that consists of both parents, their son, their daughter and their daughter’s boyfriend. Only the son escaped unharmed.


Muhammad Riyad, the One Responsible

Who is Muhammad Riyad? According to the authorities, that is the name of the (now deceased) person responsible for the Würzburg Axe Attack. He was 17 years old before his passing yesterday. He was reportedly an asylum seeker from Afghanistan, having come to Germany alone. He had been living in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt, (a district in Würzburg) in the care of a foster family. At this time, Muhammad Riyad is being treated as a lone attacker in this horrific incident.

It is Likely Riyad Had Been Recently Radicalized

Muhammad Riyad is believed to have performed this attack for terror-based reasons on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or just Islamic State) formerly known as ISIS. A flag bearing the group’s insignia was found in Riyad’s room at his foster home and people present at the attack have claimed to have heard him yelling “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) inside the train. However, if he was radicalized, official sources have claimed that it must have been quite recently and that he was not particularly devout in regards to the Muslim faith.

ISIS News Site Has Claimed Riyad as One of the Group’s “Fighters”

In related ISIS news, the Amaq news agency (an Islamic State news source) released a statement claiming that Muhammad Riyad was, “one of the fighters of the Islamic State and the fighter answered calls to target countries of the coalition that is fighting the Islamic State.” The Islamic State news agency also shared a video of Riyad encouraging Muslims, who could not reach the Islamic State bases in Syria and Iraq, to engage in terror attacks in their current country of residence. The person in the video (who may or may not actually be Riyad) also claims that he will use the knife he is holding in the video to avenge people killed in Muslim countries.

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