Gunmen attacked a busy shopping centre in the German city of Munich yesterday evening, spraying bullets as people fled in horror from what police said was a terrorist attack.
At least nine people were killed, possibly including the gunman, in a shopping centre shooting in Munich, police said last night.
An unknown number of others were injured after multiple shots were fired on Hanauer St before the attack moved to the Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping centre in the south German city at about 6pm.
It remains unclear whether other attackers are on the run, after reports that at least three gunmen were involved.
As special forces rushed to the scene, some people remained holed up in the Olympia shopping center.
“Many shots were fired, I can’t say how many but it’s been a lot,” said a shop worker hiding in a store room inside the mall. The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she had seen a shooting victim on the floor who appeared to be dead or dying.
A worker at another shop, Harun Balta, said: “We are still stuck inside the mall without any information, we’re waiting for the police to rescue us.”
It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. Previous attacks in France and Germany were claimed by the Islamic State militant group.
“The first reports came at 6pm, the shooting apparently began at a McDonald’s in the shopping centre,” a police spokeswoman said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said his department was not aware of any Irish people having been caught up in the violence but urged citizens to follow local police advice.
“I am horrified by the violence and loss of life that has occurred in Munich today,” he said. “Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of anyone affected by this horrific event, and we extend our deep condolences to the German people.”
He said his department was in contact with the Irish Embassy in Berlin and added: “At this time, we are not aware of any Irish citizens having being caught up in this evening’s incident.”
Munich police said on Facebook that witnesses reported three different gunmen armed with rifles and that witnesses had seen shooting both inside the mall and on nearby streets.
A video posted online, whose authenticity could not be confirmed, showed a man dressed in black outside a McDonald’s by the roadside, drawing a handgun and shooting towards members of the public.
Munich’s main railway station was also evacuated. Police had also sealed off many highways north of Munich and people were told to leave them.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but supporters of Islamic State celebrated the rampage on social media.
The attack took place a week after a 17-year-old asylum-seeker wounded passengers on a German train in an axe rampage. 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 said before the mall attack that there was “no reason to panic but it’s clear that Germany remains a possible target”.
The incidents in Germany follow the attack in Nice on Bastille Day in which a Tunisian national drove a truck into crowds, killing 84. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for that attack.
Yesterday was also the five-year anniversary of the massacre by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway. Breivik is a hero for many far-right extremists.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved