11 dead after shootings in Hanau, Germany

 

February 20, 2020

 


Forensic experts are seen outside a shisha bar after a shooting in Hanau near Frankfurt, Germany, on Feb 20, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

 

HANAU, GERMANY (AFP, REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) – Eleven people have been killed after a shooting incident on Wednesday (Feb 19) night in the German town of Hanau near Frankfurt, police said.

Nine died at two separate shisha bars, and two other people, including the suspected perpetrator, were found dead at another address, police said in a statement.

Newspaper Bild reported that the gunman expressed extreme right-wing views in a letter of confession he left behind. Bild also said, without citing its source, that the man left a video claiming responsibility too.

An investigation into the identity of the suspected killer and the victims is continuing, police added.

“There are no indications that other suspects were involved,” police said on Twitter.

The first attack occurred at the Midnight bar in the centre of the city around 10pm, police and reports said.

Witnesses reported hearing a dozen shots, local media said.

The attacker then fled the scene by car, according to police.

There was then a second shooting at Arena Bar.

According to local media reports, three people were killed in front of the first bar and five in front of the second.

At least five people were also seriously wounded, reports said.

An AFP journalist at the scene saw around thirty police cars leaving Hanau police station and, according to witnesses, police officers with machine guns were deployed in the city.

A silver Mercedes covered by what looked like a survival blanket could be seen behind a police cordon and surrounded by officers in front of Arena Bar, with shattered glass on the floor.

German counter-terror prosecutors said on Thursday that they had taken over the investigation into the shootings.

“Federal prosecutors have taken over because of the particular importance of the case,” a spokesman told AFP, adding that “there are signs of a xenophobic motive” for the killings.

Germany has been targeted in recent years by several extremist attacks, one of which killed 12 people in the heart of Berlin in December 2016.

But far-right attacks have become a particular concern for German authorities.

In October, a deadly anti-Semitic gun attack in the eastern city of Halle on the holy day of Yom Kippur underscored the rising threat of neo-Nazi violence.

The rampage, in which two people were shot dead, was streamed live.

Last June, conservative politician Walter Luebcke, an advocate of a liberal refugee policy, was shot at his home.

On Friday, police arrested 12 members of a German extreme right group believed to have been plotting “shocking” large-scale attacks on mosques similar to the ones carried out in New Zealand last year.

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