Afghan teen who stabbed two American tourists was “motivated by terrorism”, say Dutch police
The young Afghan man who seriously injured two Americans in a knife attack at Amsterdam train station on Friday was motivated by terrorism, Dutch authorities said on Sunday.
“It turned out that the man had a terrorist motivation,” said the mayor of the Dutch capital in a statement on Saturday, the day after the attack at the central station, where the 19-year-old Afghan stabbed two people, seriously wounding them, before being shot by the police.
“We are aware that both victims were US citizens visiting the Netherlands and have been in touch with them or their families,” Pete Hoekstra, the US ambassador to the Netherlands, said in a statement on Saturday.
The perpetrator, who has only been named as Jawad S, had been granted asylum in Germany and had a German residence permit. He was questioned by the police at the hospital and the Dutch authorities said they are working closely with their German counterparts to obtain more information on his background.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte denounced it as a “cowardly act” and urged citizens to “remain constantly vigilant.”
The US ambassador said that the United States is ready “to provide the necessary help.”
“Our main priority remains the security and well-being of American citizens in the country,” he added.
The attack came a day after the Afghan Taliban called for attacks on Dutch troops after right-wing MP Geert Wilders attempted to hold a caricature contest of the Prophet Muhammad. Mr Wilders cancelled the contest, which had greatly angered Muslims and sparked protests beyond the Netherlands, saying he wanted “to avoid any risk of victims of Islamic violence.”
Several stabbing attacks have been carried out in Europe in recent years, but the Netherlands had so far been spared.
However, in 2004, filmaker Theo van Gogh was stabbed in Amsterdam by a Muslim who wanted revenge for a film he had made which, according to some, was offensive to Islam.