Merkel to convene German security council after Munich shootings

Police warn of ‘acute terror’ situation in locked-down city as they hunt for three gunmen believed to still be at large

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the German Bundestag June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the German Bundestag June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will convene her security council Saturday to address the deadly shooting rampage in Munich which killed at least eight people and seriously wounding several others, her chief of staff Peter Altmaier said.

Altmaier told ZDF public television on Friday that Merkel was being “constantly briefed” on developments in the southern city, where police say at least eight people were killed and up to three gunmen were still at large.

“The cabinet ministers concerned are on their way to Berlin,” he added.

Beyond the chancellor and her chief of staff, the German security council includes the ministers for foreign affairs, defence and interior affairs as well as other top officials.

Altmaier said the council would “compile all information available and evaluate it”.

Police sign blocks the entrance to Odeon square following shootings at a shopping mall earlier on July 22, 2016 in Munich. (AFP PHOTO / dpa / Sven Hoppe)
Police sign blocks the entrance to Odeon square following shootings at a shopping mall earlier on July 22, 2016 in Munich. (AFP PHOTO / dpa / Sven Hoppe)

“We are determined to do everything we can so that terror and inhuman violence stand no chance in Germany,” he said.

“Our thoughts are with the victims of the attack, with their loved ones and also with the police who are defending freedom and security.”

Merkel had been due to start holidays in the Alps, while her Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, on a flight to New York when the shootings began, was heading back to Berlin.

Police described the shooting rampage at Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall in the north of the city as a suspected terror attack as they hunted three gunmen believed to still be at large.

Police evacuate people from the shopping mall in Munich on July 22, 2016 following a shootings earlier. (AFP PHOTO / STR)
Police evacuate people from the shopping mall in Munich on July 22, 2016 following a shootings earlier. (AFP PHOTO / STR)

Police warned of an “acute terror” situation in the locked-down southern German city, which saw panicked shoppers fleeing the mall as armed police roamed the streets in the search for the attackers.

“At the moment no culprit has been arrested,” Munich police said on social media. “The search is taking place at high speed.”

“The shooter or shooters are still on the run” either in or around the mall, police said. The city sent emergency smartphone alerts to tell people to stay indoors.

Residents of the city were offering their homes on social media to people in need of a safe location off the streets, using the hashtag #OffeneTür (Open Door).

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