GERMANY - Three dead as van ploughs into crowd in Muenster

GERMANY - Three dead as van ploughs into crowd in Muenster

On Saturday, April 7, a auto hit a group of seated people in Germany's western town of Muenster, leaving 4 people dead and 20 others injured, according to the interior ministry as cited by DPA news agency.

The senior security official said that police were conducting response measures as though it were a terrorist attack, but that they remained uncertain about whether it was one.

Adreas Bode, spokesman for the German police, said six of the injured were in severe condition.

Muenster is five hours west of Berlin near the border of Germany and Netherlands.

The exact nature of the driver's shooting death remains unclear, with some on social media saying the driver, a man fleeing the scene before shooting himself shortly after. They say they're still examining what kind of an object it is and whether it's unsafe. Four people, including the suspect, were killed in the incident, according to authorities.

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All three of the attackers were killed by the police who arrived at the scene several minutes later.

The driver shot and killed himself, a police representative said.

A large-scale police operation is now underway, with officers currently investigating a suspicious object found inside the van.

Mayor Markus Lewe told reporters that "all of Muenster is mourning this terrible incident".

Police say they have not yet established the identity of the driver, but they are not looking for more suspects. It happened in a pedestrian area of the historic city as many people were out enjoying the warm spring sunshine on Saturday afternoon.

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Images broadcast by German television showed several police vehicles and firefighting vehicles clustered around a street in the centre of the picturesque medieval city of 300,000 people.

Police also urged people to refrain from spreading "speculation" about the incident.

The police spokeswoman said: "The danger is over". "Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones", she said.

The incident was reminiscent of a December 2016 attack at a Berlin Christmas market where 12 people were killed by a man driving a truck into a crowd.

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