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Isis flag found in room of German train attacker

A young Afghan refugee who attacked passengers on a train in southern Germany with an axe.

Police marking tape is seen at the perimeter fence that surrounds Elmau castle on June 4, 2015 in Klais near Kruen, southern Germany. Germany will host the G7 summit at Elmau Castle on June 7 and June 8, 2015. Picture: AFP.

GERMANY - Police have found a hand-painted Islamic State flag in the room of a young Afghan refugee who attacked passengers on a train in southern Germany with an axe, a state minister said on Tuesday.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said however it was too early to say whether the youth was a member of Islamic State or any other militant group. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, according to its Amaq news agency.

The 17-year-old severely wounded four Hong Kong residents, two of whom are now in critical condition, on the train late on Monday then injured a local woman after fleeing before police shot him dead.

The attack took place days after a Tunisian delivery man plowed a truck into crowds of revelers in the southern French city of Nice, killing 84. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for that incident.

The case is likely to deepen worries about so-called "lone wolf" attacks in Europe and could put political pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has welcomed hundreds of thousands of migrants to Germany over the past year.

MOTIVES

At least one witness reported that the attacker, who had been living with a foster family in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt, had shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest).

Herrmann told Reuters TV that a hand-painted IS was found among his belongings when police searched his home.

"Some things clearly point to an Islamist background, but there is no evidence at this point connecting him to any other individuals, or indicating whether he radicalized himself," Herrmann said. "That must all still be investigated."

Herrmann told the Bayerischer Rundfunk radio station in a separate interview that the attacker had come to Germany as an unaccompanied minor about two years ago.

He started attacking his passengers with an axe and a knife around 9pm local time as the train was approaching its last stop, the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, Herrmann said.

The attacker fled into the town of Heiligenfeld after the emergency brake was pulled. He was pursued by a police unit and shot dead after attacking a woman and trying to assault the police officers, Herrmann said.

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying condemned the attack, which he said injured four of five members of a Hong Kong family that was visiting Germany.

Leung's office said Hong Kong and Chinese officials were in touch with the German embassy to follow up on the case, and representatives were en route to visit the family.

Unlike neighbors France and Belgium, Germany has not been the victim of a major attack by Islamic militants in recent years, although security officials say they have thwarted a large number of plots.

Germany welcomed roughly 1 million migrants in 2015, including thousands of unaccompanied minors. Many were fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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