A German court sentenced a 16-year-old girl to six years’ youth detention on Thursday for attempted murder following an attack on a police officer that was described by prosecutors as the first assault ordered by Islamic State in the country.
The teenager, identified by the court as Safia S, was 15 years old when she slashed the police officer in the neck with a vegetable knife at the main railway station in Hanover in February last year.
The 34-year-old officer was severely injured but survived the attack.
In addition to attempted murder, a regional court in the central German city of Celle found the high school student guilty of aggravated assault and having the support of a terrorist organization.
The court said in a statement that it had been proven that Safia S “had attempted to kill a federal police official during a routine check.”
It went on to say that the defendant had been in contact with Islamic State through chats on a mobile phone.
Safia S, who has a German father and a Moroccan mother, admitted carrying out the attack and later wrote a letter apologizing for action.
Her defence lawyers have lodged an appeal claiming the sentence is too severe.
Germany’s strict privacy laws place restrictions on the publication of personal details in court cases.
A 20-year-old German-Syrian man, identified as Mohamad Hasan K, was also sentenced by the court to two-and-half years’ imprisonment for failing to alert the authorities after knowing about the planned attack on the police officer and Islamic State’s support for the action.
The attack on the police officer came one month after Safia S travelled to Istanbul where prosecutors claim she made contact with Islamic State with plans to enter Syria. Her mother later travelled to Istanbul to bring her back to Germany.
The day before the attack on the police officer, Safia S again made contact with Islamic State, sending a video claiming her responsibility for the knife attack, prosecutors said.
The prosecution claimed that Safia S’s action was the first attack launched by Islamic State in Germany.
Since then, the extremist terrorist group has claimed to have been behind three terrorist attacks in Germany.
This included the December 19 attack in Berlin when a 24-year-old Tunisian, Anis Amri, hijacked a lorry and ploughed it into a crowded Berlin Christmas market, killing 12. Amri was later shot dead in Italy.
Safia S was brought up by her mother after her parents divorced. The father claimed during investigations into the attack that the mother had forced her children to follow a strict religious code.
Prosecutors say Safia S first showed signs of having been radicalized in 2008 when she was described by radical Salafist preacher Pierre Vogel as “the little sister in Islam,” after she appeared as a 7-year-old in a YouTube video reciting the Koran.
A year later, her teacher informed the school head, who contacted the police and the child protection authorities.