March 10, 2016 / 7:29 PM / 2 years ago

Uruguay says Islam convert acted alone in knife attack

MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - A convert to Islam who fatally stabbed a Jewish man in Uruguay and claimed Allah was responsible acted alone and had no ties to foreign militant networks, the Uruguayan government said on Thursday.

Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi said the government drew its conclusion after security agents scoured the computer of 36-year-old Carlos Peralta and searched his home for signs he might have links to outside groups.

“No links arise with other people inside or outside the country, nor with any group,” Bonomi said.

Earlier on Thursday, Judge Fabricio Cidade found Peralta guilty of knifing businessman David Fremd late on Tuesday in Paysandu, near the border with Argentina. The judge told the El Telegrafo newspaper that Peralta would be sent to a psychiatric hospital for tests ahead of sentencing.

“He consistently talked about the religious motivations but did not once recognize committing the crime,” the judge told the local paper. “He said his actions were in the hands of Allah.”

Fremd, 54, was head of the Jewish Community of Paysandu.

In the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, the Egyptian Center for Islamic Culture and Israeli Embassy condemned the attack.

Stabbings have been on the rise in Israel, where violence escalated during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian who tried to stab them on Wednesday, the military said. The attacks came a day after an American tourist was killed in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian who went on a stabbing spree while Biden held meetings just blocks away.

Reporting by Malena Castaldi; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Matthew Lewis

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