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Passengers on German train overpower attacker who hurt five

Police officers standing in front of a regional train in Herzogenrath, Germany (Ralf Roeger/dpa/AP)
Police officers standing in front of a regional train in Herzogenrath, Germany (Ralf Roeger/dpa/AP)

Three passengers on a regional train in Germany have overpowered an Iraq-born man who hurt five people with a knife, authorities said.

The train was travelling near the western city of Aachen when the man began attacking fellow passengers “randomly and arbitrarily” on Friday, state interior minister Herbert Reul said, according to the news agency dpa.

The motive for the attack was under investigation.

Authorities were looking into the possibility of an extremist motive but had not confirmed it, Mr Reul said.

The wounded were being treated at local hospitals, with none of them in a life-threatening condition, police said.

There were about 270 passengers on the train, Mr Reul said.

A police officer and two other passengers overpowered the 31-year-old suspect, state police said.

The suspect was known to authorities, Mr Reul said.

He described the attack as “a gruesome crime that was stopped in an enormous act of courage”.