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Deaths Reported After Vehicle Ploughs Into Crowd in NW Germany

08 April 2018

At least three people have been killed while 20 injured after a van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in western Germany on Saturday.

The German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he was dismayed at the incident and that federal authorities were working with local police.

"There are several dead, probably including the suspect", a police spokeswoman said.

"At 15:27 [local time], a vehicle drove into the outside area of the restaurant. three people were killed, 20 injured, and six of those seriously injured", police spokesman Andreas Bode said.

Muenster, with a population of 300,000, is located in northwest Germany in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia about 30 miles from the Dutch border.

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CNN reports that the driver has killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to authorities.

Police also said they found a suspicious object in the van that they were examining to see if it was risky.

The Muenster University Hospital put out an urgent call for citizens to donate blood - and so many people rushed to help that long lines of donors formed.

Anis Amri, a Tunisian asylum seeker who had hijacked the lorry, was shot and killed in Italy four days after a Europe-wide manhunt.

A police spokeswoman in the western city, Vanessa Arlt, told AFP that the driver of the vehicle "shot himself".

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Photographs posted on social media showed tables and chairs strewn outside the Grosser Kiepenkerl restaurant, which is popular with tourists. Armed police were deployed.

Mayor Markus Lewe told reporters that "all of Muenster is mourning this disgusting incident". NPR's Esme Nicholson says the incident was in the city's historic center. It is not in a pedestrian zone, but the area has wide sidewalks where people had been sitting outside on a sunny, spring afternoon, police said.

She described the incident Saturday "terrible news".

The crash is reminiscent of a December 2016 vehicle attack at a Berlin Christmas market, which left 12 dead. Our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives.

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Deaths Reported After Vehicle Ploughs Into Crowd in NW Germany