Europe

Munich shooting: Manhunt after deadly attack at shopping centre

  • 23 July 2016
  • From the section Europe
Police protest people evacuated from shopping centre in Munich. 22 July 2016 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Armed police escorted people from the shopping centre

German police are engaged in a huge anti-terror manhunt in the city of Munich after nine people died in a shooting at a shopping centre.

Police are investigating whether one of the bodies is that of a perpetrator. At least 10 people have been wounded.

Three armed attackers were earlier reported to be on the run. Police urged people to avoid public places.

Public transport shut for several hours after the attack at the Olympia centre in the north-western Moosach district.

Police helicopters are flying over the city and the elite border security unit, GSG9, has been flown in.

The body of the suspected attacker was found about 1km (0.6 miles) from the shopping centre, local media reported, and police were using a robot to check it for explosives.

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Eyewitness accounts

German news magazine Focus reported that a gunman had shot himself in the head, but investigators have not commented.

A car believed to be linked to the attack was taken away by police on a tow-truck, the magazine added.

The Bavarian capital's central railway station was evacuated as authorities suspended all public transport. The system was reopened several hours later.

Thousands of people stranded by the emergency and unable to get home were offered shelter by local residents. The initiative was launched with the Twitter hashtag #Offenetür (open door).

Police, who describe the operation as "an acute terror situation", say the first reports of a shooting in Hanauer Street came in just before 18:00 (16:00 GMT).

Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, told national TV the motive for the attack was still unclear.

"We cannot rule out that it is linked to terrorism but we can't confirm it either, but we are also investigating in this direction," he said.

A meeting of the government's security cabinet will be held on Saturday.

Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer is holding a crisis meeting with security advisers and the German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, who was on his way to the US, is returning home.

Meanwhile the neighbouring Czech Republic is boosting its border security.

Image copyright AP
Image caption People rushed from the shopping centre, their hands raised
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The security operation continues in the search for the perpetrators

More details have begun emerging about events at the shopping centre.

Local resident Dominic Faust described how people entered the mall screaming.

"Those people told us that there was a shooting outside and so the security closed the door of this mall and asked everybody to go upstairs to the fifth floor," he said.

A man working at a petrol station in Munich earlier told the BBC: "We see just ambulances and firemen and police but all this area is evacuated, all the streets.

"Now [there] are no cars just on the streets. All of the streets are blocked. The people are scared. Everybody is running around."

Munich police said they did not know where "the perpetrators" were. "Look after yourselves and avoid public places".

Police also urged people to help their operation by avoiding speculation and to desist from using photos or video of their deployments online.

German security forces have been on alert since a teenage migrant stabbed and injured five people on a train in Bavaria on Monday, in an attack claimed by so-called Islamic State.

The authorities had warned of the danger of further incidents.


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