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German Officials Give 'Cautious All Clear' After 9 Killed in Munich; Gunman Dead

German Officials Give 'Cautious All Clear' After 9 Killed in Munich; Gunman Dead
(Lukas Schulze/dpa via AP)

By    |   Friday, 22 July 2016 08:55 PM

Security officials in Germany have given a "cautious all clear" hours after a gun-man killed nine people and wounded 10 others in Munich.

Police said the body of a 10th person belonged to the shooter, an 18-year-old German-Iranian who killed himself.

Munich police chief Hubertus Andraes said authorities are still trying to deter-mine the shooter's motive.

After a massive manhunt during which police were searching for as many as three suspected shooters, they lifted a shutdown of public transportation in the city and concluded the deceased shooter likely acted alone.

"As part of our manhunt we found a person who had killed himself — the person is likely to have been the attack-er who, according to the current state of the investigation, acted alone," Munich police said on Twitter.

The shooting began just before 6 p.m. local time Friday at a McDonald's and quickly spread to the street outside the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall. Earlier during a press conference, police called the shooting "a terror situation."

Some reports claimed there were other shootings at different parts of Munich, but those have yet to be verified by authorities.

In the aftermath of the shooting, a witness told CNN her son saw a man loading a pistol in a bathroom stall, and shortly after the man started shooting at children eating in a McDonald's.

CNN reports the shooter then left the restaurant and went across the street to the Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping center.

Confusion and chaos reigned, with some witnesses claiming they saw three different people with guns near the mall.

A police official said, "We believe we are dealing with a shooting rampage." Ger-man news agency DPA said authorities talked about an "acute terror threat."

Witness Luan Zequiri said he was in the mall when the shooting began.

He told German broadcaster n-tv that he heard the attacker yell an anti-foreigner insult and "there was a really loud scream."

He said he saw only one attacker, who was wearing jack boots and a back-pack.

"I looked in his direction and he shot two people on the stairs," Zequiri said. He said he hid in a shop, then ran outside when the coast was clear and saw bodies of the dead and wounded on the ground.

A disturbing video posted on several news websites, including The Mirror, show what appears to be a gunman opening fire. A man raises what seems to be a pistol and fires in the direction of pedestrians on a sidewalk.


Warning: Graphic footage.



Police and German special forces descended on the scene in the German city, situated near the country's south-eastern corner.

The U.S. Consulate in Munich posted emergency bulletins on its website for U.S. citizens. The latest one urges people to "shelter in place … Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was being regularly briefed on the attack, said her chief of staff Peter Altmaier.

"All that we know and can say right now is that it was a cruel and inhumane at-tack," Altmaier said on German public channel ARD. "We can't rule out that there are terrorist links. We can't con-firm them, but we are investigating along those lines too."

Altmaier noted that Friday was the fifth anniversary of the massacre in Oslo, Norway, by a far-right extremist that killed 77 people, 69 of them at a youth summer camp.

"You can only have absolute security in an absolute surveillance state, and no-body wants that, it would be the opposite of our free western European way of life," he said. "But, and this became clear again today, we can't talk down this danger. It's a danger that many countries are exposed, especially in the west, and that's why it's important to give our security agencies the instruments they need."

Friday's attack occurred near the city's Olympic stadium, constructed for the 1972 Games. Those Olympics were marred by a terror attack during which Palestinian attackers opened fire in the Olympic Village, killing 11 Israeli athletes. Five guerrillas and a police officer were also killed. The GSG9 anti-terrorism unit was created after that at-tack, though the city saw a worse one in 1980, when 13 people were killed and more than 200 injured at the city's annual Oktoberfest in a bombing blamed on a student with ties to a neo-Nazi group.

President Barack Obama also weighed in on the attack from the White House.

"Our hearts go out to those who may have been injured. It's still an active situation," Obama said. "Germany's one of our closest allies, so we are gonna pledge all the support that they may need in dealing with these circumstances."

Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, reacted to the events in a statement.
 
"We mourn alongside one of our closest allies tonight for the innocent lives taken by yet another act of terror," the Wisconsin Republican said. "Now, more than ever, we must come together as a nation and fight to protect our freedoms. And we must win this fight, providing leadership to combat terrorism that threatens our very way of life."

It's the second attack in Germany in less than a week. On Monday, a 17-year-old Afghan wounded four people in an ax-and-knife attack on a regional train near the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, and another woman outside as he fled. All survived, although one man from the train remains in life-threatening condition. The attacker was shot and killed by police.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the train attack, but au-thorities have said the teen likely acted alone.

Last week, a man killed 84 people and injured more than 300 others by driving a truck down the crowded Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. The terror attack occurred on France's Bastille Day.

This report contains material from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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Officials in Germany fear that Friday's "shooting rampage" in Munich, which left several people dead and wounded, was an act of terrorism.
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Friday, 22 July 2016 08:55 PM
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