World

Extremist Shot Dead By Police In Berlin After Stabbing A Police Officer

| by Meg O'Connor
Rafik Mohamad YousefRafik Mohamad Yousef

German police shot and killed Rafik Mohamad Yousef, a 41-year-old Iraqi citizen, after he stabbed a female police officer in the neck in the German capital of Berlin. 

German law-enforcement authorities say that the man was an Islamic extremist, and that he was one of three people who were convicted for a plot to assassinate Iyad Allawi, the former Prime Minister of Iraq, while he was visiting Berlin in 2004.

The police had received calls from alarmed citizens who said there was a man wielding a knife in Berlin's Spandau area. When the police officers arrived on the scene, Yousef stabbed the female officer just above her bulletproof vest as she stepped out of her patrol car.

The officer's partner then shot Yousef four times. The injured officer was rushed to a hospital to receive emergency surgery, and is said to now be "out of danger" after being treated for her wounds.

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Emergency responders attempted to save Yousef's life when they arrived at the scene, but the man died en route to the hospital. 

Yousef was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in the assassination plot on Iraq's former Prime Minister, though he was released early and allowed to remain in Germany. Yousef was required to wear an electronic tag - which he reportedly removed prior to the attack.

German authorities also say that Yousef's had a prior conviction that stemmed from his affiliation with a terrorist organization known as Ansar al-Islam, an Iraqi militant group with close ties to al-Qaeda. 

In 2008, a regional court sentenced Yousef to prison for being a member of a terrorist organization, but he was released on bail.

For a short time after the attack, local news reported that the stabbing was the action of a mentally-ill man. However, after Yousef's previous convictions came to light, authorities became convinced that the man's attack was an act of terror.

Sources: The Independent, IBTimes

Photo credit: The Independent