TWO homeless men have been left with life-threatening injuries after they were doused in a flammable liquid and deliberately set on fire in Berlin.
The men, aged 47 and 62, were attacked by an unknown assailant at a train station in the Schöneweide suburb shortly before midnight on Sunday.
German tabloid Bild reports that witnesses managed to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher from a nearby kebab shop.
The men, understood to be German citizens, were treated at the scene by emergency services before being rushed to hospital with serious burns.
The 47-year-old victim is believed to be in a coma.
War mit @stefanie_fuchs vor Ort. Hier wurden letzte Nacht zwei Obdachlose angezündet. Der o. die Täter gehören bestraft. Das Umfeld, in dem solche Taten wachsen, muss benannt und bekämpft werden. Deshalb heute, 18.00 Uhr, am Bhf. Schöneweide: Gesicht zeigen gegen Hass und Gewalt. pic.twitter.com/msZXmvwMzY
— (((carsten schatz))) (@schatzbln) July 23, 2018
Detectives have launched an attempted murder investigation, but the motive for the attack is unclear.
Photographs from the cordonned-off scene on Monday morning showed a melted shopping trolly and charred belongings lying on the ground outside the station.
This is far from the first attack in recent years on Berlin's estimated 10,000-strong homeless population.
In 2016, seven young people attempted to set a homeless man on fire at the Schönleinstraße underground station on Christmas Day.
Six months later in June 2017, a 21-year-old man was jailed after lighting a fire next to the head of a man sleeping on a bench at a U-Bahn train station in Kreuzberg.
Though the 37-year-old rough sleeper was not seriously injured, the attack shocked Germany and struck terror in the homeless community there.