Shooting rampage in Munich
Attackers target shopping centre
THE German city of Munich was in a state of chaos last night after gunmen attacked a busy shopping mall, spraying bullets as people fled from what police said was a terrorist attack.
Police said at least nine people had been killed and at publication time last night, the attackers, who reportedly were dressed in black, were still at large.
There were unconfirmed reports one of the gunmen had shot himself and one of them, according to witnesses, screamed “I’m German” and “f*** foreigners” before shooting.
Police told the public to get off the streets as the city – Germany’s third biggest – went into lockdown, with transport halted and highways sealed off.
As special forces rushed to the scene, some people remained trapped in the Olympia shopping centre.
“Many shots were fired, I can’t say how many but it’s been a lot,” said a shop worker hiding in a storeroom 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 a different shop, Harun Balta, said: “We are still stuck inside the mall without any information, we’re waiting for the police to rescue us.”
A police spokeswoman said nine people were killed and an undetermined number wounded. No suspects had been arrested, she said.
“We believe there was more than one perpetrator. The first reports came at 6pm, the shooting apparently began at a McDonald’s in the shopping centre. There are still people in the shopping centre. We are trying to get the people out and take care of them,” the spokeswoman said.
Munich police said on Facebook witnesses reported three different gunmen armed with rifles.
A video posted online – whose authenticity could not be con- firmed – showed a man dressed in black outside a McDonald’s by the roadside drawing a handgun and shooting towards members of the public.
An American student, Thamina Stoll, 22, who had been holidaying in Munich, filmed people fleeing the shopping centre during the attacks from her grandmother’s nearby flat.
She told news website MailOnline she had just visited the centre with her grandmother and a cousin shortly before the shooting started.
She later returned to the centre with her parents.
“When we went down to the street, we ran into another family and they were in shock.
“They were scared and they told us not to go back to the shopping mall. After we were spoken to by the family, we went back upstairs to my grandma’s apartment – who lives about three minutes away from the shopping mall.
“We took in the family. They were so scared.
“From the balcony we were able to witness about 50 people running towards our house seeking shelter. Sirens started to sound and a helicopter appeared.
“God knows what would have happened to us if my family had decided to go that shopping mall half an hour later. We might not be alive now.”
Police said witnesses had seen shooting inside the mall and on nearby streets.
The shopping centre 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.
Munich’s main railway station was also evacuated.
Yesterday was the five- year anniversary of the massacre by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway. Breivik is a hero for far-right extremists in Europe and America.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but supporters of the IS celebrated the rampage on social media. “Thank God, may God bring prosperity to our Islamic State men,” read one tweet.
“The Islamic State is expanding in Europe,” read another.
Yesterday’s 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 told Bild newspaper yesterday before the mall attack there was “no reason to panic but it’s clear that Germany remains a possible target”.
The incidents in Germany follow an attack in Nice, France, on Bastille Day in which a Tunisian drove a truck into crowds, killing 84. The IS also claimed responsibility for that attack.
The Munich assault was also reminiscent of Islamist militant attacks in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013 and in Mumbai, India, in November 2008. – Reuters
Special police officers secure the area in the underground station Karlsplatz (Stachus) after a shootout in Munich, Germany, yesterday.
A still from a video posted on Twitter purporting to show a shooter.
Police officers rush to the Munich shopping centre where a shooting was reported.