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Berlin motorway accidents being investigated as Islamist attack

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Six people were injured, three seriously, after a vehicle rammed into other motorists on Tuesday evening.
Six people were injured, three seriously, after a vehicle rammed into other motorists on Tuesday evening.   -   Copyright  Paul Zinken/dpa vía AP
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German authorities have ordered a 30-year-old man accused of deliberately driving his car into other vehicles along a major Berlin highway and injuring six people be moved to a psychiatric jail, as investigators continue to probe the man's motives.

German prosecutors said on Wednesday that they suspect the series of accidents was an act "motivated by Islamism."

Six people were injured, three of them seriously, when a vehicle collided with cars and motorbikes on the BAB 100 at around 19.00 CET on Tuesday evening.

An initial investigation indicated that the crashes were "deliberate attacks on other road users" carried out by one individual, according to Berlin's Public Prosecutor's office.

The 30-year-old man was arrested at the scene by police officers.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor's office said the suspect had “practically hunted” motorcyclists with his car.

"Statements by the accused after his acts suggest a religious-Islamist motivation," Berlin prosecutors said in a statement.

There were also indications that the suspect suffered from psychological instability and had posted information about the planned act on social media.

No evidence has been found that the suspect was a member of a terrorist organization. State Security officials are now leading the investigation.

The Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller said on Twitter he was "deeply shocked" by the incident.

Authorities closed the motorway for several hours to investigate the contents of the suspect's vehicle, but no suspicious items were found.

Following the attack, CDU parliamentary group leader Burkard Dregger called for greater efforts to improve security.

Germany has been on high alert regarding terrorism since December 2016, when 12 people were killed when a truck rammed into pedestrians in Berlin's Christmas market. 56 others were injured in the attack which was claimed by the Islamic State group.