MUNICH, Germany, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 23rd july,2016) - German police said Saturday a gunman who went on a shooting rampage at a busy mall in Munich likely acted alone, and then committed suicide after killing nine people in cold blood. The third attack on civilians in Europe in barely a week saw panicked shoppers fleeing the Olympia (OEZ) mall as elite police launched a massive operation to track down what had initially been thought to be up to three assailants.
"We found a man who killed himself. We assume that he was the only shooter," police said on Twitter. Nine people were killed in the shooting that began early Friday evening, with 21 injured according to the latest official toll. The statement from authorities came after explosives experts from the Munich police examined a backpack found on a dead man thought to be the lone assailant in the rampage, German DPA news agency reported.
The man's body was found about one kilometre (0.6 miles) away from the mall where the shootings took place, DPA said. "We suspect terrorism," a police spokesman in the Bavarian capital said earlier, but there were no immediate indications of an Islamist link. A video posted on social media appeared to show a man dressed in black walking away from a McDonald's restaurant while firing repeatedly on people as they fled screaming.
Germany has so far escaped the kind of large-scale militant attacks seen in neighbouring France and neither the motives nor the identity of the supposed gunman were known. Munich's main train station was evacuated and metro and bus transport in the city suspended for several hours while residents were ordered to stay in their homes, leaving the streets largely deserted. By early Saturday, transport services were running again, Munich police said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will convene her security council on Saturday to address the deadly rampage in the European economic powerhouse which took in more than one million migrants and refugees last year. "We are determined to do everything we can so that terror and inhuman violence stand no chance in Germany," her chief of staff Peter Altmaier said. - 'Murderous attack' - ====================== The spree began before 1600 GMT at the McDonald's and continued on a nearby street before at least one attacker moved into the Olympia centre -- which lies not far from the scene of the 1972 Olympics massacre.
Shoppers rushed away from the mall, some carrying children in their arms, as the building was surrounded by armed police and emergency vehicles, while helicopters buzzed overhead. Europe has been on alert for terrorism in the wake of a string of attacks in neighbouring France and Belgium claimed by the Islamic State militant group. German President Joachim Gauck said he was "horrified" by the "murderous attack", while Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who was on a flight to New York when the shooting began, will return to Germany.
US President Barack Obama and French counterpart Francois Hollande voiced staunch support for their close ally. "Our hearts go out to those who may have been injured. It's still an active situation, and Germany's one of our closest allies, so we are going to pledge all the support that they may need in dealing with these circumstances," Obama said. Austria said it has "significantly" tightened security measures in states sharing a border with Germany and put its elite Cobra police force on high alert.