German authorities said Wednesday that the multiple attacks on motorcyclists riding on a Berlin highway Tuesday could be religiously motivated.
“An Islamist attack cannot be ruled out,” Berlin police and prosecutors said in a joint statement.
The 30-year-old suspect, who authorities say is an Iraqi citizen, allegedly hit several motorcycles intentionally with his vehicle. Six people were injured, three severely, in the rush-hour attack. At least one victim has suffered life-threatening injuries.
According to police, the suspect allegedly got out of his black Opel Astra after the third crash and placed an ammunition box on top of his car, claiming it contained explosives. When specialists opened the box with a jet of water, they found only tools inside.
The suspect was taken into police custody and questioned. Local media identified him as Sarmad D. He will be brought before a magistrate Wednesday for three cases of attempted murder.
“Statements by the accused after his actions suggest a religious-Islamist motivation,” German authorities said in the statement. “There are also indications of psychological instability.”
Authorities noted that the investigation had not found evidence that the suspect was a member of a terrorist organization. Prosecutors said they were investigating if the man had contacts with extremists.
Part of the highway remained closed Wednesday morning but was reopened in the afternoon after the investigation concluded.