Swiss police identify woman assailant in knife attack as a known Islamic terrorist. The 28-year-old Muslim woman stole a knife in a department store in the center of Lugano and then attacked two women in the name of (ISIS) Islamic State.
REMIX News Without taking the price tag off the knife, she lunged at two women walking nearby. She stabbed one in the neck and started strangling the other one. According to witnesses, she shouted that she belongs to the Islamic State.
The woman in the mall was eventually disarmed by a group of customers who detained her before the police arrived. The subsequent investigation confirmed that the attack was Islam-motivated.
Witnesses said they heard screaming and bangs, and then saw the bodies of two women in a pool of blood. The attack took place in the center of Lugano on Dante Square. In Switzerland, despite some coronavirus measures, shops are still open.
Counterintelligence services had registered the attacker, whose name the media is not allowed to publish under Swiss law, as radicalized in 2017. The SDA news agency reported that she was born in Switzerland and converted to Islam as an adult. According to Reuters, she attempted to travel to Syria to meet a radical she met on the internet, however, the Turkish authorities detained her at the border with Syria and returned her to Switzerland.
“It is not common for jihadist women to attack, but it is not an exception. Hamas and Islamic jihadist groups have used female suicide bombers in Israel in the past. Another example is Chechen women who took part in attacks in the Moscow metro or the Dubrovnik theater in 2002,” said Marek Čejka, author of the book “The Quran, the Sword, and the Ballot Box” (Korán, meč a volební urna).
Swiss police are now investigating whether the terrorist acted alone as a so-called lone wolf or as part of a group. An investigation into a recent terrorist shooting in Vienna, where four people died on Nov. 2, revealed that the Islamic terrorist had met several Swiss radicals before the attack.
In Switzerland, this attack is the second such incident in the past quarter of a year. In mid-September, an attacker stabbed a 29-year-old Portuguese man in front of a kebab store in Morges. The police caught him the next day with a knife and a copy of the Quran. Authorities were aware that the attacker had spread jihadist propaganda for the last three years.