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3 dead as vehicle ploughs into crowd in Germany's Muenster, driver commits suicide

Updated April 07, 2018

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First responders work at the scene when several people were killed and injured when a car ploughed into pedestrians in Muenster — AFP
First responders work at the scene when several people were killed and injured when a car ploughed into pedestrians in Muenster — AFP

Three people were killed and several injured on Saturday when a vehicle ploughed into pedestrians in the German city of Muenster before the driver killed himself, police and local media said.

A police spokeswoman in the western city told AFP that the driver of the vehicle “shot himself” after driving into a crowd of people and leaving about 30 bystanders with injuries.

“There are deaths and injured. Please avoid the area, we are on the scene,” the regional police service said on Twitter. Police also urged people to refrain from spreading “speculation” about the incident.

According to the online edition of the Spiegel magazine, German authorities were “assuming” the incident was an attack, though there was no immediate official confirmation of a motive.

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

Armed police were deployed and officers urged residents to avoid the city centre to allow investigators to get to work.

Germany has experienced a number of terror attacks in recent years, including through the deadly use of vehicles.

In December 19, 2016, Tunisian national Anis Amri, 24, hijacked a truck and slammed it into a crowd of people at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48.

Amri was shot dead by Italian police in Milan four days later after travelling through several European countries. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for that attack.

IS also claimed several similar attacks in Europe, including a rampage along Barcelona's Las Ramblas boulevard in August 2017 that killed 14 and left more than 100 injured.

The deadliest such incident in recent years was in the French resort city of Nice in 2016, where a man rammed a truck into a crowd on France's national July 14 holiday, killing 86 people.