A man smashed a van into a packed
restaurant terrace in Germany Saturday
killing at least two people before shooting
himself dead, with authorities ruling out an
Images of the scene showed broken and
upturned tables and chairs strewn across the
pavement in the centre of the picturesque
medieval city of Muenster.
While stressing that the investigation was
still ongoing, state interior minister
Herbert Reul said the perpetrator was
believed to be a German citizen "and not, as
has been claimed everywhere, a refugee or
something like that".
"There is no indication at the moment that
there is any Islamist connection," said Reul,
who is from Chancellor Angela Merkel's
At least 20 people were injured, six of them
seriously, police said. The assailant was
found shot dead behind the wheel of his van.
Media reports said the driver, identified
only as Jens R., had a history of mental
Public broadcaster ZDF said the man had
recently attempted suicide while rolling
news channel NTV said he had spoken of a
desire to bring as much attention as
possible to his death.
Police in the university city of 300,000 did
not immediately confirm the reports.
"There was a bang and then screaming. The
police arrived and got everyone out of
here," an employee of the restaurant hit by
the terrace told NTV.
dpa/AFP / Friso Gentsch
First responders are seen after several
people were killed and injured when a car
ploughed into pedestrians in Muenster,
western Germany on April 7, 2018
"There were a lot of people screaming.
I'm angry -- it's cowardly to do something
Germany has long braced for more violence
after several attacks claimed by the Islamic
State jihadist group, the bloodiest of which
was a truck rampage through a Berlin
Christmas market in December 2016 that left
12 people dead.
Armed police were deployed in Muenster after
Saturday's incident with officers urging
residents to avoid the city centre to allow
investigators to get to work amid initial
fears the country had suffered another
- 'Deeply shaken' -
Merkel said she was "deeply shaken" by the
incident "everything possible will be done
to determine what was behind this act and to
help the victims".
Multiple dead as car drives into crowd in
The presidents of Russia and France,
Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron, each
sent their condolences.
The attack is the latest in a string across
Europe in which vehicles have been used to
attack crowds of people in public places.
In the Berlin Christmas market attack,
Tunisian asylum-seeker Anis Amri hijacked a
truck and murdered its Polish driver before
killing another 11 people and wounding
dozens more by ploughing the heavy vehicle
through the festive market in central
He was shot dead by Italian police in Milan
four days later while on the run.
Germany has since been targeted again in
attacks with radical Islamist motives.
In July 2017, a 26-year-old Palestinian
asylum seeker wielding a knife stormed into
a supermarket in the northern port city of
Hamburg, killing one person and wounding six
others before being detained by passers-by.
dpa/AFP / Bernd Thissen
Special police are seen at the scene when
several people were killed and injured when
a car ploughed into pedestrians in Muenster,
western Germany on April 7, 2018
A court last month sentenced him to life
in prison, finding he had had a "jihadist"
IS also claimed responsibility for a number
of attacks in 2016, including the murder of
a teenager in Hamburg, a suicide bombing in
the southern city of Ansbach that wounded
15, and an axe attack on a train in Bavaria
that left five injured.
- Germany an IS target -
Germany remains a target for jihadist
groups, in particular because of its
involvement in the coalition fighting IS in
Iraq and Syria, and its deployment in
Afghanistan since 2001.
German troops in the anti-IS coalition do
not participate in combat operations but
support it through reconnaissance,
refuelling and training.
dpa/AFP / -
People walk past police cars in Muenster,
western Germany where several people were
killed and injured when a car ploughed into
pedestrians on April 7, 2018
Germany's security services estimate
there are around 10,000 Islamic radicals in
Germany, some 1,600 of whom are suspected of
being capable of using violence.
Merkel has allowed in more than one million
asylum seekers in the past two years -- a
decision that has driven the rise of the
far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD)
party, which charges that the influx spells
a heightened security risk.
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
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.