BERLIN, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The German government has condemned car-ramming attacks on foreigners by a German citizen on New Year's Eve. The government had taken note of the act "with dismay", deputy government spokesperson Martina Fietz said on Wednesday.
A spokesman of the Interior Ministry did not want to label the case an act of terrorism. It was a criminal act of an individual and the background had to be clarified further by investigating authorities.
"There was a clear intention of this man to kill foreigners", Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Herbert Reul (CDU) said. The 50-year-old man would have deliberately steered the car into groups of people consisting mainly of foreigners.
The public prosecutor's office and the police spoke of a "targeted attack" in which eight people were injured. Most of them are from Syria and Afghanistan.
The public prosecutor's office in Essen charged the man with multiple attempted murders and a court issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday.
Investigators said they had "initial information about the driver's mental illness" but the driver has not yet been known to the police. It looks as if the man had "developed hatred for foreigners out of personal concern and displeasure," said North Rhine-Westphalia's interior minister Reul.
According to Reul, German security authorities currently have no evidence that the 50-year-old man has any connections to the right-wing extremist scene.
The public prosecutor's office did not want to comment whether the man has already made a confession or commented on his motive for the car-ramming attacks.