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Police: Gunman and 9 victims dead in Munich mall shooting

Munich shooting rampage
Munich shooting rampage 02:26

MUNICH -- Munich police gave a "cautious all clear" early Saturday morning, more than seven hours after a gunman opened fire in a crowded shopping mall and at a nearby McDonald's killing nine people and wounding at least 16 others in a rampage authorities called an act of terrorism. A body found near the scene was that of the shooter and he appeared to have acted alone, officials said.

Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae says the victims wounded in the Munich attack include youths, children.

Witnesses had reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall, but police said on Twitter that "as part of our manhunt we found a person who had killed himself - the person is likely to have been the attacker who, according to the current state of the investigation, acted alone."

Police chief Andrae said the shooter was an 18-year-old German-Iranian. Andrae said at a news conference that the attacker's motive was still "fully unclear."

He said that the body of the shooter, who killed himself, was found about 2 1/2 hours after the attack was determined to be the shooter based on the evaluation of witness statements and closed circuit television.

Authorities lifted a shutdown of all public transport in the Bavarian capital, and said more details would be disclosed at a press conference later in the morning.

Police called the mall shooting "suspected terrorism" in a statement but did not elaborate on who might have been behind it. In Washington, the White House condemned what it called an "apparent terrorist attack."

It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. The previous attacks, in the French resort city of Nice and on a train in Bavaria, were claimed by the Islamic State group. Germany's elite GSG9 anti-terror police, as well as federal police, were called in to help.

Munich cafe witness 07:07

While police called the mall shooting an act of terrorism, they said they had "no indication" it involved Islamic extremism and at least one witness said he heard a shooter shout an anti-foreigner slur.

The attack started shortly before 6 p.m. at a McDonald's across the street from the mall, which was filled with people doing their weekend shopping. As dozens of shots rang out, terrified shoppers ran from the scene, some carrying babies and pushing strollers.

In Washington, President Obama reacted to the shooting in remarks to his policing task force.

"Germany's one of our closest allies, so we are going to pledge all the support that they may need in dealing with these circumstances," Mr. Obama said.

Witness to mall attack 05:55

In Norway, the shooting happened on the same day that the country paid an emotional tribute to the 77 people killed in a bombing-and-shooting rampage by a far-right terrorist five years ago.

Witness Luan Zequiri said he was in the mall when the shooting began.

He told German broadcaster n-tv that he heard the attacker yell an anti-foreigner insult and "there was a really loud scream."

He said he saw only one attacker, who was wearing jack boots and a backpack.

"I looked in his direction and he shot two people on the stairs," Zequiri said. He said he hid in a shop, then ran outside when the coast was clear and saw bodies of the dead and wounded on the ground.

Video obtained by The Associated Press from German news agency NonstopNews showed two bodies with sheets draped over them not far from a McDonald's across from the mall.

Munich terror analysis 08:37

Germany's Interior Ministry said Munich police had set up a hotline for concerned citizens. Facebook launched its "safety check" feature for users to let their friends know whether they're OK. Residents of Munich opened their doors to people seeking shelter using the Twitter hashtag #opendoor.

On Twitter, police asked people to refrain from speculating on the attack. Germany's interior minister cut short his holiday in the United States to go back to Berlin late Friday to meet with security officials.

Bayrischer Rundfunk reported that shops in the center of Munich had closed with customers inside though police said reports of shots fired at a location downtown had been a false alarm.

Witness to rampage 02:44

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's was being regularly briefed on the attack, said her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier.

"All that we know and can say right now is that it was a cruel and inhumane attack," he said on German public channel ARD. "We can't rule out that there are terrorist links. We can't confirm them, but we are investigating along those lines too."

Altmaier said numerous attacks had been prevented in Germany in recent years "but, and this is important, there can never be absolute security."

Witness to shooting 07:55

Police responded in large numbers to the mall in the northern part of Munich, not far from the city's Olympic Stadium in the Moosach district of the Bavarian capital.

It was also not far from where Palestinian attackers opened fire in the Olympic Village in 1972, killing 11 Israeli athletes. Five guerrillas and a police officer were also killed. The GSG9 anti-terrorism unit was created after that attack, though the city saw a worse one in 1980, when 13 people were killed and more than 200 injured at the city's annual Oktoberfest in a bombing blamed on a student with ties to a neo-Nazi group.

Terror In Munich 05:57

It was the second attack in Germany in less than a week. On Monday, a 17-year-old Afghan wounded four people in an ax-and-knife attack on a regional train near the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, and another woman outside as he fled. All survived, although one man from the train remains in life-threatening condition. The attacker was shot and killed by police.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, claimed responsibility for the train attack, but authorities have said the teen likely acted alone.

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