A Swiss woman who was arrested after a suspected terror attack Tuesday had ties to a jihadist in Syria and had tried to travel there in 2017, numerous sources reported.
The suspect, 28, allegedly attempted to choke someone and stabbed another person in the neck with a knife at a department store in the Italian-speaking Ticino region of Switzerland, according to the Associated Press. The attacker was reportedly apprehended by two shoppers.
Swiss federal police said Wednesday that the woman had a relationship with a jihadist in Syria, and was been blocked by Turkish authorities in 2017 while she was trying to enter Syria. She was subsequently sent back to Switzerland.
The Swiss federal authorities, known as Fedpol, said on Twitter that the woman was experiencing mental health problems at the time of the attempted entry to Syria.
“After returning to Switzerland, she was admitted to a psychiatric clinic,” it adds. “Since 2017, the woman has not come to fedpol’s attention in any investigations related to terrorist activities.”
— fedpol (@fedpolCH) November 25, 2020
The Swiss federal prosecutor’s office announced Wednesday. that it was pursuing criminal charges including premeditated homicide, serious bodily harm, and violating the country’s ban on extremist groups like ISIS.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz expressed solidarity with Switzerland after the “Islamist terrorist attack,” which comes weeks after a gunman who had previously attempted to join ISIS in Syria killed four people and injured 14 more in early November.
Kujtim Fejzulai, the 20-year-old suspected gunman, was shot dead by police after the beginning of the attack. (RELATED: Suspect In Vienna Shooting Tried To Join ISIS, Was Released From Prison Early After Terrorism Charges)
I fully condemn today’s Islamist terrorist attack in #Lugano. My thoughts are with the victims wishing them a full & swift recovery. We stand with #Switzerland in these difficult hours. We’ll give a joint response to Islamist terrorism in #Europe & defend our values. @s_sommaruga
— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) November 24, 2020
The attack in Austria occurred roughly a week after a Tunisian migrant is alleged to have killed three people at a church in France, where multiple Islamist terror attacks have recently taken place. Among the attacks was the beheading of a teacher who was targeted after showing students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad from the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo during a lesson on freedom of speech.