Church memorial service to be held for victims of German van attack

Apr 09, 2018, 01:32
Church memorial service to be held for victims of German van attack

Prosecutors said he had faced allegations of threats, property damage and fraud in 2015 and 2016, all of which were dropped.

Asked about a motive behind the attack, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in a press conference Sunday that the man, who has not been named, could have been mentally ill.

The crash killed two people, and the driver killed himself not long after.

Police had said they are investigating witness reports of people fleeing out of the van after the attack.

Germany has been on especially high alert for jihadist attacks after several claimed by the Islamic State group.

According to the German authorities, this incident can not be considered a terrorist attack.

He didn't elaborate on how many Dutch were injured or how serious those injuries were.

"I heard a loud, tiresome noise and suddenly everyone started shouting", a witness, Steffen Simonsen, told Germany's ARD broadcaster. There is no known connection to radical Islam but investigators are still looking into the driver's background, Reul said.

Large portions of the city center remained shut down hours later, as helicopters hovered in the sky and police officers with large rifles blocked streets.

The attack came a year to the day of a truck attack in Stockholm in which a suspected Islamist militant sympathiser links killed five people.

"The investigations are being led under high pressure in all possible directions".

"We now know it was in all likelihood a lone perpetrator, a German", Herbert Reul, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, home to Muenster, told reporters.

"According to the current state of the investigation, the driver is probably a 48-year-old man from Muenster", said Chief Prosecutor of Muenster Martin Botzenhardt in the statement. "Everything possible is being done to investigate the act and support the victims and their families".

Inside the van in Muenster, police found illegal firecrackers which were disguised as a fake bomb, a fake pistol and the gun that the perpetrator used to kill himself.

Police during a search found a weapon - a Kalashnikov.

The local daily Muenstersche Zeitung reported that the perpetrator had vaguely announced his suicide plans a week ago in an email to friends, but police wouldn't confirm those details.

The man killed two people when he ploughed the vehicle into people seated at tables outside the Grosser Kiepenkerl eatery, a popular destination for tourists in the old town of the university city in western Germany.

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