Shoot­ing ram­page in Mu­nich

At­tack­ers tar­get shop­ping cen­tre

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JO­ERN POLTZ

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

PIC­TURE: EPA

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.

PIC­TURE: EPA

Police of­fi­cers rush to the Mu­nich shop­ping cen­tre where a shoot­ing was re­ported.

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