Moments of terror in Switzerland, where in the canton of St. Gallen – close to the border with Austria and Lichtenstein – a 27-year-old Swiss citizen armed with a knife and flammable liquid, attacked and injured six people, including a 6-year-old child. He got injured in his turn, then arrested and escorted to the hospital. According to local media, some of the injured are in a serious condition.
For a few hours, Switzerland sank into the nightmare of Islamic terrorism. This hypothesis, however, has not been confirmed nor rejected yet by the Swiss authorities, due to the scarcity of available information. The assailant’s identity and the motives of his action have not been divulged yet, hence we cannot exclude political or religious motives. According to investigators, it might have been a gesture driven by “passion”: the goal of the man, according to this hypothesis, was a woman, who is one of the injured with burns.
It happened at around 2.20 p.m. on the railway between St. Margarethen and Sargans, as the train was approaching the Salez station. The 27-year-old, who had flammable liquid and knifes, poured the liquid on the sitting passengers and set them on fire, then stabbed them with a knife.
Besides the 6-year-old, among the wounded there are two teenagers, a boy and a girl of 17, a 50-year-old man and two women of 34 and 43. The prosecutor’s office of the canton of St. Gallen has immediately opened an investigation, whereas numerous emergency vehicles, three helicopters and three ambulances reached the place where the attack had happened.
We ought to point out, however, that all tracks are still open, even that of a terrorist attack. So far, Switzerland has never suffered a terrorist attacks, but the train incident brought to mind the earlier attacks on convoys in Europe: on 21 August 2015 in France a 25-year-old Moroccan man made an attempt to shoot passengers on the Thalys train, in the northeastern department of Pas-de-Calais. Last month, a 17-year-old Afghan refugee driven by the desire to “avenge” the death of a friend in Afghanistan, attacked with a knife passengers on a train in Wuerzburg, Germany, before being killed by police.