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Shots fired at shopping centre in Munich, at least 8 dead, 10 wounded

Police have closed off the area around the shopping centre. (Representative image) Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Berlin, Germany Jul 22, 2016, 04.51 PM (IST)
Several people were killed on Friday in a shooting rampage by a lone gunman in a Munich shopping centre, police said.

Police have cordoned off a wide area around the Olympia shopping centre in the southern part of the city after shots were fired, a spokeswoman for the police said.

At least six people are believed to have been killed in the shooting rampage, police source said. Witnesses say they spotted three different people with firearms, who are believed to be still at large. A manhunt is under way.

Authorities were evacuating people from the Olympia mall but many others were hiding inside. A Munich police spokeswoman said mulitple people were killed or wounded.

"We believe we are dealing with a shooting rampage," the spokeswoman said. More than one gunman was believed to be involved and no one had been arrested, she said.

The Bild newspaper reported that the gunman ran through the mall, firing on several people before fleeing in the direction of a nearby metro station.

Staff in the mall were still in hiding, an employee told Reuters by telephone.

"Many shots were fired, I can't say how many but it's been a lot," the employee, who declined to be identified, said from the mall in Munich.

"All the people from outside came streaming into the store and I only saw one person on the ground who was so severely injured that he definitely didn't survive. We have no further information, we're just staying in the back in the storage rooms. No police have approached us yet."

Local TV images showed dozens of emergency vehicles outside the mall. NTV television reported that German police special forces had arrived at the scene. Munich police tweeted urging people to avoid the area.

"At the moment we have a major police operation on OEZ. Please avoid the area around the mall."  
 
Officials say the main train station in Munich has been evacuated, metro and bus transport have also been suspended.

The U.S. State Department says "our thoughts are with the victims and their families" after gunmen went on a shooting rampage in a shopping mall in the southern German city of Munich.

The shopping center is next to the Munich Olympic stadium, where the Palestinian militant group Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and eventually killed them during the 1972 Olympic Games.

Friday's attack took place a week after a 17-year-old asylum-seeker wounded passengers on a German train in an axe rampage claimed by Islamic State. Bavarian police shot dead the teenager after he wounded four people from Hong Kong on the train and injured a local resident while fleeing.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas told Bild newspaper's Friday edition that there was "no reason to panic but it's clear that Germany remains a possible target".

Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said the teenager was believed to be a "lone wolf" attacker who appeared to have been "inspired" by the Islamic State group but was not a member of the jihadist network.

The incidents in Germany follow an attack in Nice, France, on Bastille Day in which a Tunisian drove a truck into crowds, killing 84. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for that attack.

(Reuters, AFP)
 
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