The shooting occurred Thursday evening at a church in Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city. Police said several people were killed and many were seriously injured. A church in the Gross Borstel district of Hamburg was shot and “several” people were killed and several were seriously injured, according to a tweet by the northern German metropolitan police, adding that “a large number of law enforcement agents are on site,” Hamburg police added on Twitter.
“A major police intervention is currently taking place in Alsterdorf”, a district in the north of the city, Hamburg (Northwest) police confirmed on Twitter. “According to preliminary findings, the firing took place in a church,” police said. “Many were seriously injured and some died.”
Police in the northern German port city said the shooter may have been among the dead. “There are indications that a criminal may be in the building, perhaps even among the dead,” a police spokesman told NTV television.
According to German media, seven people may have died and several others were injured in the shooting, some of them seriously. The daily build incites a “bloodbath” and confirms that the facts took place “in a church of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
According to multiple media outlets, residents of the port city were warned of “serious danger” through a disaster alert application, with police calling on them to avoid the affected area. “Shelter in a building immediately,” it asks, “calling only in extreme emergencies so as not to overload the lines.”
“At around 9 p.m., one or more unknown persons opened fire on people in a church,” the Federal Office for Civil Protection said. “Avoid the danger zone. In the danger zone, stay where you are and do not go out at this time,” the agency said in a statement.
German press agency dpa reported that police are treating the shooting as an isolated incident.
German authorities have been on alert in recent years to counter the twin threats of terrorism, jihadism and right-wing extremism. Germany has been a target for jihadist groups since 2001, particularly as it is involved in the coalition fighting the IS group in Iraq and Syria, and has been stationed in Afghanistan since 2001.
Between 2013 and the end of 2021, the number of Muslims considered dangerous in Germany has increased fivefold and now stands at 615, according to the interior ministry. The number of Salafists is estimated at around 11,000, more than double the number in 2013.
After a warning from the FBI, German authorities announced on January 8 the arrest of two Iranians suspected of wanting to carry out an “Islamic” chemical attack using ricin and cyanide.
After several deadly attacks targeting community or religious sites in recent years, another threat looms over Germany.
In a racist attack in Hanau near Frankfurt (west) in February 2020, a German militant killed nine young men of foreign origin.
Between 2000 and 2007, a neo-Nazi group called the NSU had already killed nine migrants and a policewoman. Two of its members committed suicide before being arrested, and a third woman was sentenced to life imprisonment.
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