Eight dead in suspected terror shooting rampage in Munich mall
Berlin, July 23 (IANS) At least eight people have been killed and several injured in a shooting rampage at a mall in the German city of Munich, which police said “looks like a terrorist attack”.
“Sadly there are eight fatal casualties now. #gunfire #munich #oez,” the Police wrote on its Twitter account.
Police have declared a terror alarm for south Germany and have asked online commentators to not to speculate about the attack, reports said.
The police have also asked people to not to take any photos and remain indoors.
Munich’s main train station has been evacuated completely and the city’s transport system has been suspended.
People are offering space to the stranded people in their own homes on social media, using the hashtag #Offenetuer — which means “open door” — for people who are stranded without a way to get home, BBC reported.
The Czech Republic’s interior minister, Milan Chovanec, has told local television that the country’s border will be reinforced in case the Munich attacker or attackers try to flee, German broadcaster NTV reported.
According to the German tabloid Bild, police are being drafted in from Austria to help in Munich.
There are reports of coordinated attacks at three locations in the city, including a shopping mall and a train station.
Three gunmen are still at large after the shooting at the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum shopping mall in the Moosach district of Munich.
However, according to German newspaper Bilde, one gunman is reported to have committed suicide.
A state of emergency has been declared in Munich, with special operations underway.
Germany TV channel ARD said the city’s main train station was being evacuated. The public transport agency has suspended all subways, buses and trams in the city for the time being.
Reports have come of shooting at the Marienplatz station in Munich.
Reports also say a gunman opened fire in Stachus Square, Munich’s main square just three miles away from the Munich Olympia centre.
Terrified shoppers were seen running for their lives from the Munich Olympia Shopping Centre after hearing gunshots.
A video purporting to show the shooter, dressed in black, firing 20 shots has been posted on Twitter. The footage shows him outside a McDonald’s directly outside the shopping centre.
The area around the Munich Olympia Shopping Centre has been sealed off.
Police have told people to stay at home and avoid the streets.
Munich Police believe there are several perpetrators on the loose in Munich and none of have been caught yet.
A tweet from the police said: “Currently we do not know where the perpetrators are. Please be careful and avoid public place.”
A big operation is underway in Munich.
The anti-terror special unit of the federal police has been deployed to the city. Border patrol helicopters have been deployed to hunt for the attackers.
The security forces have been on alert after an Afghan teen attacked and severely injured five people with an axe on a train in Bavaria on Monday.
The authorities had warned of the danger of further attacks.
The shopping mall is located next to the Olympic Stadium in the city where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by the Black September Palestinian militant group during the Olympic Games in 1972.
US President Barack Obama on Friday pledged support to Germany in the wake of the shooting rampage.
The US has also issued an advisory for its citizens in Germany asking them to maintain a high level of vigilance and take steps to enhance personal security.
President Obama, who was briefed about the attack on the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum shopping mall, said, “We don’t yet know exactly what’s happening there, but obviously our hearts go out to those who may have been injured. We are going to pledge all the support they may need.”
Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened” by the shooting.
“Deeply shocked & saddened by #Munich shootings. My thoughts are w/ the victims, their loved ones & all #Germany at this time,” he Tweeted.