The Hague: A 19-year-old Afghan man suspected in last week’s stabbing of two American tourists at Amsterdam Central Station appeared before a Dutch judge on Monday who ordered that he remain in custody.
“The suspect was remanded in custody after the judge decided there was enough evidence for him to remain behind bars,” Dutch prosecutors said in a statement.
The suspect, previously only identified as “Jawed S.” by authorities, is scheduled to appear before judges again in two weeks and will be held under maximum security – which means he will only be allowed visits by his lawyer.
Dutch authorities said Jawed S., who held a German residency permit, allegedly had a “terrorist motive”.
He said he chose his victims at random and was motivated by perceived insults to Islam in the Netherlands, Dutch prosecutors said on Monday.
Two US citizens – both believed to be men – were seriously injured when the knife-wielding man attacked bystanders around noon on Friday at the busy train station next to Amsterdam’s historic city centre.
Police quickly reacted and shot the man in the lower body. He and the two injured tourists were taken to hospital.
The US State Department on Sunday condemned what it called an “unprovoked, horrifying attack” and offered full support to Dutch authorities, both in their investigation and “in our common fight against terrorism in all forms”.
Both of the wounded Americans remained in a satisfactory condition Monday, Dutch news reports said.
German police on Saturday raided the suspect’s home, which Dutch newspapers said was located in the western Rhineland-Palatinate state.
Meanwhile, a German foreign ministry official Monday confirmed that the suspect is an asylum seeker who was appealing a decision to reject his claim.
Also, German police had no information linking the alleged attacker to any terror groups or that he was regarded as dangerous, the official said.
Thousands of commuters and tourists were evacuated from the rail terminus after Friday’s attack.
One witness said he saw a young man “stumble” into his flower shop at the station with a bleeding wound to his hand, before hearing shots ring out.
The Netherlands has so far been largely spared the terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbours in the past few years.
But amid a number of scares and reports that people linked to some of those attacks may have crossed briefly into the country, top Dutch security and intelligence officials have stressed that the threat level is substantial.