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Swiss woman charged over 'jihadist-motivated' knife attack in Lugano

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By AFP  with Euronews
A police car in the area where a stabbing occurred in Lugano.
A police car in the area where a stabbing occurred in Lugano.   -   Copyright  Ti-Press/Keystone via AP

A young Swiss woman has been charged over a "jihadist-motivated" knife attack that injured two people in 2020.

The Swiss prosecutor's office said on Wednesday it had indicted the suspect for attempted murder over the attack at a department store.

The woman has also been charged under a federal law that bans certain terrorist groups.

The 29-year-old -- who lives in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino -- is also accused of illegal prostitution.

Prosecutors say she "brutally attacked her victims, chosen at random, with a knife" and aimed to kill them to spread terror in the name of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

One of the two victims was seriously injured in the neck, while the second person eventually managed to restrain the attacker with other bystanders before Swiss police arrived.

The attacker was remanded in custody after her arrest on 24 November 2020 and has been on early release since August 2021.

On the day of the attack, federal police announced that the woman had been named in a 2017 investigation linked to jihadist terrorism.

Investigators say the suspect had "fallen in love" on social media with a jihadist fighter in Syria. The woman had reportedly tried to join him but was arrested at the Turkish-Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland.

She had then been placed in a psychiatric institution on her return.