A leading mayoral candidate in Germany has been stabbed in the attack by a man allegedly motivated by his hatred of refugees.
Henriette Reker, Cologne’s head of social affairs, integration and environment, was campaigning in a market when her attacker approached on Saturday morning.
As her supporters handed out flowers to potential voters, the man asked for a rose before stabbing her with two knives in the neck and stomach, witnesses told the Kölnische Rundschau newspaper.
He reportedly shouted about an “influx of refugees” immediately before the attack and called out: “I am the Messiah. I’m doing it for you all.”
Anette von Waldow, a liberal politician, was also seriously injured and three other politicians and aides were hurt during the man’s rampage.
It stopped when market traders and campaign workers wrestled two knives from his hands, at which point he reportedly sat down and was arrested with no resistance.
Ms Reker, 58, underwent emergency surgery and police described her condition as “stable” on Saturday afternoon.
Wolfgang Albers, the head of Cologne Police, said a 44-year-old suspect had been arrested and was in custody.
The man, who lives in Cologne has been unemployed for several years, “confessed to having xenophobic motives”, he added.
Photos taken by police showed the man’s weapons – a small flick knife and a large hunting knife.
Prosecutor Ulf Willuhn said officials will now carry out a psychiatric examination to investigate whether that was the man’s primary motive or whether his health played a role. There was no evidence of accomplices.