Palestinian Islamist who 'wanted to kill as many Christians as possible' when he stabbed a man to death and wounded six others in German supermarket admits murder

  • Ahmad Alhaw, 26, admitted murdering one person and injuring six in Hamburg
  • Prosecutors said he had wanted to 'kill as many German Christians as possible'
  • The failed Palestinian asylum seeker wanted to 'contribute to jihad', they added

A Palestinian asylum seeker has admitted murdering one man and wounding six others in an 'Islamist attack' at a Hamburg supermarket last year. 

Ahmad Alhaw said he 'takes responsibility for the very serious crimes he committed and explicitly recognises his guilt regarding all the charges,' the defendant's lawyer Christoph Burchard told judges in a high-security courtroom today.

Prosecutors told the court in Hamburg that it was 'important' to Alhaw, 26, to 'kill as many German nationals of the Christian faith as possible'. 

'He wanted his actions to be viewed in the context of an Islamist attack, and understood as a contribution to jihad worldwide,' they added.

'He wanted his actions to be viewed in the context of an Islamist attack, and understood as a contribution to jihad worldwide,' they added. Pictured: Ahmad Alhaw in court today

'He wanted his actions to be viewed in the context of an Islamist attack, and understood as a contribution to jihad worldwide,' they added. Pictured: Ahmad Alhaw in court today

Alhaw took an eight-inch knife from the shelves of a supermarket last July before using it to kill one and wound six in the assault. Pictured: The scene outside the supermarket after the attack

Alhaw took an eight-inch knife from the shelves of a supermarket last July before using it to kill one and wound six in the assault. Pictured: The scene outside the supermarket after the attack

Ahmad Alhaw (pictured) said he 'takes responsibility for the very serious crimes he committed and explicitly recognises his guilt regarding all the charges,' the defendant's lawyer Christoph Burchard told judges in a high-security courtroom today

Ahmad Alhaw (pictured) said he 'takes responsibility for the very serious crimes he committed and explicitly recognises his guilt regarding all the charges,' the defendant's lawyer Christoph Burchard told judges in a high-security courtroom today

Prosecutors told the court in Hamburg that it was 'important' to Alhaw, 26, to 'kill as many German nationals of the Christian faith as possible'

Prosecutors told the court in Hamburg that it was 'important' to Alhaw, 26, to 'kill as many German nationals of the Christian faith as possible'

Alhaw took an eight-inch knife from the shelves of a supermarket last July before using it to kill one and wound six in the assault. 

He was arrested after passersby overpowered him.

Alhaw was due to be deported after his asylum application was rejected, but the process had been delayed due to a lack of documents.

Charging him with murder, as well as six counts of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm, prosecutors said he likely acted with an Islamist motive.

Alhaw was due to be deported after his asylum application was rejected, but the process had been delayed due to a lack of documents. Pictured: The scene of the attack in July  

Alhaw was due to be deported after his asylum application was rejected, but the process had been delayed due to a lack of documents. Pictured: The scene of the attack in July  

Through an Arabic translator, Alhaw told the court he had sought asylum in Norway in 2009 after giving up dentistry studies in Egypt, hoping for a better life in Europe. Pictured: The scene of the attack in July  

Through an Arabic translator, Alhaw told the court he had sought asylum in Norway in 2009 after giving up dentistry studies in Egypt, hoping for a better life in Europe. Pictured: The scene of the attack in July  

He was 'fascinated' by the Western lifestyle and enjoyed drinking alcohol, with only 'phases' of religiosity, Alhaw said. Pictured: Police officers outside the supermarket after the attack  

He was 'fascinated' by the Western lifestyle and enjoyed drinking alcohol, with only 'phases' of religiosity, Alhaw said. Pictured: Police officers outside the supermarket after the attack  

Alhaw told interrogators that the crime 'had some connection with events on the Temple Mount' in Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities had recently imposed anti-terror controls for Muslim worshippers, prosecutor Yasemin Tuz told the court.

'The results of the investigation show that the accused sought out his victims indiscriminately, retaliating against people who in his view represent perpetrators of injustice targeting Muslims,' prosecutors had earlier said.

Investigators, however, did not find any evidence to suggest that Alhaw was a member of ISIS.

Rather, the defendant - a tall, slim, bearded figure who appeared in court wearing glasses and a blue turtleneck - had from time to time demonstrated 'suspect behaviour', 'transforming' his life towards radical Islam before 'again taking up a Western lifestyle,' Tuz said.

Alhaw told interrogators that the crime 'had some connection with events on the Temple Mount' in Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities had recently imposed anti-terror controls for Muslim worshippers, prosecutor Yasemin Tuz told the court

Alhaw told interrogators that the crime 'had some connection with events on the Temple Mount' in Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities had recently imposed anti-terror controls for Muslim worshippers, prosecutor Yasemin Tuz told the court

Through an Arabic translator, Alhaw told the court he had sought asylum in Norway in 2009 after giving up dentistry studies in Egypt, hoping for a better life in Europe.

After his application was rejected, he moved around the EU, living in Sweden, Spain and finally Germany.

He was 'fascinated' by the Western lifestyle and enjoyed drinking alcohol, with only 'phases' of religiosity, Alhaw said.

But 'he had the feeling that he was not welcome in these countries,' he added.

Alhaw himself declined to discuss his suspected religious radicalisation or details of his crimes.

'He knows that he has committed very serious crimes and knows he will be sentenced for them,' defender Burchard said.

The killer risks life in prison, although Germany often grants parole after 15 years.

Hearings began after he was deemed psychologically fit for trial.

Palestinian knifeman Ahmad Alhaw killed one and wounded six in the supermarket attack in Hamburg last July. Pictured: The scene after the attack

Palestinian knifeman Ahmad Alhaw killed one and wounded six in the supermarket attack in Hamburg last July. Pictured: The scene after the attack

National news agency DPA said Alhaw had allegedly signed a statement during interrogation saying: 'Yes, I am a terrorist.'

The trial is expected to last until March 2, with the six people wounded in the assault invited to the hearings only from January 26.

The assault in the northern port city was the first Islamist attack in Germany since Tunisian Anis Amri drove a truck into crowds at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, killing 12 and injuring 48.

Amri was shot dead by police in Milan four days later, and the rampage was claimed by ISIS.

Germany has been on high alert over the threat of a jihadist assault since that truck rampage.

Like Amri, Alhaw was to have been deported after his asylum application was rejected by authorities at the end of 2016, but the process was held up by a lack of identity documents.

The attacks have piled pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her decision to allow in more than a million asylum seekers since 2015.

Railing against the migrants, the AfD party won over 90 seats in September's general elections - the best showing for a rightwing party in Germany since the end of the Second World War.

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