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German Media Report Train Attacker Was Pakistani, Not Afghan

The assailant attacked passengers on a German train with an ax and knife, injuring five people, two of them critically.

German media have reported that the 17-year-old asylum seeker who was shot dead by police after attacking passengers with an ax and knife on a train in southern Germany was not Afghan but in fact Pakistani.

German state broadcaster ZDF said on July 20 that documents found in the teenager's room showed that he had Pakistani -- rather than Afghan -- citizenship.

The boy, whose identity has not been released, attacked people on the regional train near the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg on July 18, leaving five people injured.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, speaking on July 20 at a news conference in Berlin, said "there are indications that he possibly was not at all an Afghan but a Pakistani."

But de Maiziere also insisted that the official register showed his birthplace as Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's ambassador to Germany, Hamid Sadeq, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on July 19 that the attacker was not necessarily an Afghan national, insisting that some refugees pouring into Europe had registered as "Afghans" for legal and financial gains.

The militant group Islamic State (IS), which claimed responsibility for the attack, has released a video purportedly showing the teenager vowing to carry out the attack. But German authorities insist that the teenager, whose identity has not been released, appears to have no direct ties to the group.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, dpa, and BBC