Technical examinations are being conducted on two mobile phones and at an abandoned house in a bid to determine the motivation behind a knife rampage by an Egyptian teenager in Dundalk that left a young Japanese man dead and two Irish men injured.
Detectives, including specialist anti-terrorism officers, are trying to establish if there might be a jihadist motivation for the attack — which would be the first of its kind in the country.
Gardaí yesterday confirmed that a terror attack was a “line of inquiry”.
Sources stressed that there may be personal factors involved.
Detectives had to seek clearance from a doctor to interview the 18-year-old asylum seeker because he was in such a “highly agitated” state and was hitting himself.
There are reports that he was shouting in Dundalk Garda Station about some “dishonour” he had brought to his family, thought to be in Britain, possibly regarding some relationship issue.
The teenager was disarmed and arrested by uniformed, and unarmed, gardaí at 9.45am yesterday after a spree that began at 9am, when he knifed a Japanese man, aged 24, in the back.
The victim was walking on Avenue Rd on his way to work at the time.
It is thought that the suspect was staying in an abandoned house nearby and may have gone back into it after the attack.
Gardaí were alerted and arrived at the murder scene within seven minutes.
It is thought the suspect re-emerged from his house, possibly armed with a second knife and a wooden fence pole, and walked to Coes Rd, where, at 9.30am, he stabbed a local man.
Some 10 minutes later, on nearby Seatown Place, he assaulted another Irishman, aged 23, with the pole, inflicting head injuries.
The suspect was spotted by a uniformed garda and, after backup arrived, he was arrested at around 9.45am on Inner Relief Rd. It is understood he attempted to attack the gardaí with the pole, but they subdued him.
The Japanese man was pronounced dead at the scene.
By Cormac O’Keeffe
Security Correspondent Irish Examiner