The streets of Dresden, Germany, were seized by fear and violence after 21-year-old Abdullah AHH, wielding a large kitchen knife, stabbed two tourists who visited the eastern town on 4 October 2020.
AHH, a Syrian refugee, is facing one count of murder for fatally stabbing Thomas L, 55, and one count of attempted murder for wounding Thomas’s partner Oliver L, 53, according to the MailOnline.
His only regret, AHH told court psychologists, was not killing Oliver. He said the couple “committed a grave sin” by holding hands in public, Dresden Higher Regional Court heard.
Arrested two weeks after the Dresden knife attack, federal prosecutors say that AHH worked for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, a sprawling terrorist and ultra-radical Islamist group.
It was a vacation that slipped into disarray after the couple journeyed from the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia to Dresden to unwind and relax.
Out and about on a mild Autumn day in Saxony’s capital, Thomas and Oliver were both punctured with a 21-centimetre kitchen knife by AHH.
Thomas died of his injuries while Oliver survived, being badly wounded.
The attack deeply alarmed government officials, with it reportedly being the first known Islamist-motivated killing of a gay person in the country.
“Investigations have shown that the dreadful killing in Dresden had an Islamist background,” justice minister Christine Lambrecht said of the incident at the time.
“Islamist terror is a major, enduring threat to our society that we have to tackle determinedly.”
Prosecutors have claimed that the horrific killing was fuelled by radical Islamist ideology.
AHH’s biography is one of plots to carry out shuddering acts of violence onto others in the name of the Islamic State.
He was granted refugee status in May 2016 in Germany after travelling from Aleppo.
According to Bild, a German newspaper, AHH sought to recruit more to ISIS while threatening to “cut out” the tongues of Christian civilians when he lived in asylum.
“I will slaughter you today,” he wrote in a letter. “You have a big mouth and I’ll cut off your tongue, you Christian.”
In 2018, AHH was sentenced to spend two years and nine months in jail for allegedly planning a suicide bomb attack with the help of other militants.
His Facebook profile at the time was covered in ISIS symbols, retooling the social media platform to recruit more to the militant group while searching online for how to build an explosives belt. One that, the court heard, would have been detonated during a high-profile film festival.
AHH had been released from a juvenile detention centre only days before the attack.
He had been arrested once before in 2017, with the authorities wary that, if released, it would be likely that AHH would attack as he was categorised as likely to pose a threat to public safety by police.
Indeed, prosecutors have alleged that AHH did plan to kill again after stabbing the gay couple – but they did not provide further details at the time.
He was tied to the murder after investigators found DNA traces on the weapon, which was left at the scene – AHH had purchased a knife just two days before the incident.