Frankfurt Main Train Station: Child killed in a possible terror attack
How safe is Frankfurt HBF (Main Train Station), or a German train station in general? This is a hot discussion today throughout Germany after an 8-year old boy was pushed in front of an ICE train and suffered a horrible death with her mother narrowly escaping the same. An ICE is a fast passenger train connecting major cities. Frankfurt/Main main train station is a major traffic hub in the DB (German Rail) system.
A 40-year-old man, a refugee from Eritrea is in custody and is refusing to talk. The suspect resides in Switzerland and it’s unclear why he was in Frankfurt. He is one out of 1.8 million refugees currently in Germany, and it’s not clear if he is related to a terror group, since no motive is known for the attack on strangers.
Most likely there will be an emotionally-charged discussion when parliament comes back in session in Germany. Some train stations in the world use a 3-meter divider between platforms and trains with doors that open when a train comes to a stop. Perhaps it’s now necessary to look at legislation to make such doors mandatory.
According to police, witnesses said the attacker also tried to push another man onto the tracks as the Intercity Express train was approaching, but the would-be victim managed to avoid falling onto the track. Such a scenario has all the elements of a terror attack.
The suspect initially fled the scene and managed to exit the station, but by-standers held him up outside the building.
The killing prompted a massive police deployment at Frankfurt’s central train station, a police spokeswoman said. Firefighters were also at the scene. Authorities closed six of the platforms for several hours, causing train delays and cancellations.
Commenting on the incident, the premier of the state of Hesse, Volker Bouffier, said he was “stunned” by the “revolting act.”
On Monday, German interior minister Seehofer pledged that the attacker would be “called to account with all means of the rule of law.” However, the minister also warned against drawing premature conclusions about the Frankfurt attack.
The latest tragedy comes only nine days after a 28-year-old man allegedly pushed a 34-year-old mother into the path of an oncoming train in the northwest town of Voerde, killing her.