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The German chancellor attends the funeral of teenage victims of a train attack

Chancellor Olaf Scholz joined hundreds on Sunday for the funeral of two teenagers who died after being stabbed on a train in northern Germany last month.

Residents and regional officials also paid their respects at the Vicelin church in Neum√ľnster to the 17-year-old girl and the 19-year-old man, both students at a local vocational school, who died in the seemingly random attack near Brokstedt on 25 January.

“We will never accept something like this happening in our country,” Scholz said before the memorial service. Two young men had become innocent victims of a completely insane act, he said.

The alleged perpetrator, a 33-year-old stateless Palestinian who arrived in Germany in 2014, is being held on two counts of murder and further counts of attempted murder. Five other people were injured in the accident on the regional train traveling from Kiel to Hamburg, three of them seriously.

Regarding the debate on returning rejected asylum seekers, Scholz said those who cannot successfully apply for protection in Germany should return to their home countries, he said.

“This is crucial to guaranteeing asylum,” Scholz said. “I will also do everything possible to ensure that this is not just an effort by Germany, but that we in Europe act together on this,” he added.

Meanwhile, judicial authorities told dpa on Sunday that the suspected attacker, identified as Ibrahim A. under German privacy laws, had compared himself to Anis Amri, a Tunisian national who stole a lorry and drove it to a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.

“There is not just one Anis Amri, there are several, I am one too,” he told staff a few months before his release from a Hamburg penal institution where he had been held for assault. Staff also heard him stammer “Big car, Berlin, that’s the truth.”

However, his prison term was generally insignificant and Ibrahim A. was released about a week before the train attack. He also underwent psychiatric evaluation without any particular anomalies being found.

Justice officials also said there were no indications of a terrorist background in the crime.