Europe

Germany shooting: What we know about the Hanau attack

A policeman stands next to some flowers left at the scene of the shooting in Hanau Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption At least nine people died in the attack

German authorities are starting to piece together exactly what happened in Hanau, when a gunman opened fire on two shisha bars.

At least nine people died in the attack which federal prosecutors are treating as an act of terrorism.

Turkish authorities say a number of those killed were of Turkish origin. Chancellor Angela Merkel said there are signs the shooter had racist motives.

Here's what we know so far about Wednesday's attack.

What happened?

The shooting took place in Hanau, a city in western Germany about 25 kilometres (16 miles) east of Frankfurt am Main.

At about 22:00 (21:00 GMT), the shooter opened fire on the Midnight shisha bar in the city centre. Witnesses say they heard about a dozen gunshots.

Shortly afterwards, a second shooting took place at the Arena Bar & Cafe west of the centre in the Kesselstadt district.

The attacker reportedly travelled the 2.5km (1.5 miles) between the two spots by car.

Who are the victims?

It is unclear exactly who the victims are. Authorities say they are all aged between 21 and 44, and included both foreigners and German citizens. Among the dead were "several victims of Kurdish origin", the Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said.

Speaking live from Hanau, Turkey's ambassador to Berlin, Ali Kemal Aydin, told state broadcaster TRT Haber: "We have five victims so far, according to the information we have."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he expected the German government to make "necessary efforts to throw light on all aspects" of the attack.

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Media captionEyewitnesses filmed the aftermath of the shooting

Police launched an hours-long manhunt for the attacker - at first suspecting there was more than one shooter.

With the help of security cameras and witnesses, officers eventually identified the suspect and stormed his home near the Arena Cafe & Bar. They found him dead inside, near the body of his 72-year-old mother.

What do we know about the shooter?

German media have identified the suspect as Tobias R. He was a 43-year-old German citizen who reportedly had a firearms licence. Local media say ammunition and gun magazines were found in his car.

Authorities believe a video posted to YouTube several days ago can be attributed to the suspect. In it, he says he wishes to send a message to the US, telling people to "wake up" and discussing a number of far-right conspiracy theories.

Though he does not mention the fringe QAnon conspiracy, he refers to several theories its followers believe.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The suspect has been identified by local media as Tobias R

Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth said authorities were also examining a website which was allegedly the suspect's.

The YouTube channel links to the page, and there are documents on the site that echo the conspiracies voiced in the video.

"What we know so far is that there is definitely a xenophobic motive. Whether there are claims of responsibility or documents, that's still being investigated," Mr Beuth said.

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