Rafik Mohamad Yousef
27 August 1974
|Died||17 September 2015 (aged 41)|
|Known for||Attempt to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi|
Rafik Mohamad Yousef (27 August 1974 – 17 September 2015), also known as Rafik Youssef, was an Islamist terrorist who was tried and convicted for plotting to assassinate the Prime Minister of Iraq during his visit to Germany in 2004, served time, and, after being released from prison, was shot and killed when he attacked a German police officer with a knife in Berlin on 17 September 2015.
2004 assassination attempt
In 2004, Yousef and two other Iraqis, Ata R. and Mazen H., planned to assassinate Iraq's then-current Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, while he visited Germany. The assassination was planned to take place during an appearance by Allawi in Berlin at Deutsche Bank on 3 December 2004.
The three were among more than 20 alleged affiliates of Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamist group linked to al-Qaeda, arrested in Europe in 2004 as security officials asserted that the group was sneaking trained operatives into Europe to carry out attacks.
The three were convicted of plotting to assassinate Allawi, and sentenced to prison. They were arrested separately on 3 December 2004. Yousef served an eight-year sentence and was freed in 2013, but he was required to wear an electronic leg tag. According to Bild newspaper, the tag had been removed only hours before attacking the police officer in 2015.
2015 police officer attack
The attack took place in the Spandau district of Berlin. Police were alerted to a "madman with a knife" who was threatening passersby. As the first police officer arrived at the scene and emerged from her vehicle, Yousef stabbed her in the neck just above her protective vest, her partner immediately drew his gun and shot Yousef four times, killing him.
A conspiracy theory claiming that Yousef is still alive and active began in Italy before spreading to Germany and then to the English-speaking world. It specifically purported that Yousef is "Paul H.", the name given to the as-of-yet unidentified suspect of a fatal knife attack at Grafing station in Grafing, southern Germany, on 10 May 2016. Conspiracy theorists also claimed that Yousef's name had been changed as part of a cover-up.
- Huggler, Justin (17 September 2015). "Islamic terrorist shot dead after Berlin attack on policewoman". Telegraph. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- "Iraqi man shot dead in Berlin after stabbing policewoman". The Guardian. Agence France. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- "Suspects in plot to kill Iraqi premier in 2004 indicted in Germany". BBC. 28 March 2006. ProQuest 459543240.
- "Ansar al-Islam in Germany: Iraqis Convicted of Allawi Assasination [sic] Plot". Der Spiegel. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- Martin, Michelle (17 September 2015). "Berlin police shoot dead convicted militant after knife attack". Reuters. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- Czuczka, Tony (8 January 2005). "German authorities say Islamic militants behind Allawi assassination plot are sending fighters from Iraq to Europe". Union Tribune. AP. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Ansar al-Islam in Germany: Iraqis Convicted of Allawi Assasination [sic] Plot". Spiegel. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Germany police shoot Berlin Islamist after knife attack". BBC. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- Ford, Dana (17 September 2015). "Police kill Iraqi man in Berlin after knife attack on street". CNN. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- Dearden, Lizzie (10 May 2016). "A suspected Islamist has launched a stabbing attack in Germany". The Independent. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
- Pezet, Jacques (12 May 2016). "Attaques au couteau en Bavière : comment le coupable Paul H. est devenu Rafik Youssef" [Knife attacks in Bavaria: how the perpetrator Paul H. became Rafik Youssef]. Libération (in French). Retrieved 13 May 2016.