Autobahn crime spree seen as terror attack

Suspect to charged with attempted murder. Investigators and politicians highlight suspect's mental state. 

Forensics investigators at the scene on Wednesday morning..
Forensics investigators at the scene on Wednesday morning..dpa/Paul Zinken

Berlin-The bomb squad was called out to the A100 Autobahn between the Alboinstraße exit and Schöneberg interchange around 6.30pm Tuesday after a motorist caused three traffic accidents on the highway, specifically targeting motorcylists, Berlin prosecutors seaid.  After coming to a stop, the driver placed an ammunition box on top of his car and claimed it was filled with explosives.

Three people involved in the accident were injured severely and taken to hospital, including an off-duty fireman, according to the city. At least one had to be resuscitated by an emergency doctor. Three others suffered minor injuries.

The motorcycle was loged in the car's grill.
The motorcycle was loged in the car's grill.dpa/Paul Zinken

The 30-year-old suspect, Iraq-born Samad A., was arrested at the scene and has previously been admitted to a Berlin psychiatric hospital. Prosecutors said they would seek an arrest warrant on charges of attempted murder.

"Statements made by the suspect following the acts point towards an Islamic motivation," prosecutors said, who also said the man seemed mentally unstable. 

The box on the car was first x-rayed by police before they blasted it open with a water cannon about 10.30pm, finding only tools. About 300 people were evacuated from their cars on the highway and escorted away on foot during the police activity.

The suspect with police.
The suspect with police.Photo: Morris Pudwell

The Autobahn was again closed temporarily Wednesday morning in both directions for investigators, who used a drone to secure evidence.

Investigators formed a task force to investigate the crime. 

"The fact that the suspect potentially suffered from psychiatric problems doesn't make it any easier," said Andreas Geisel (SPD), head of the Berlin interior department.