3 dead, 20 injured after van crashes into German crowd

It was not clear whether the incident was an attack

It was not clear whether the incident was an attack

Several people are dead after a vehicle drove into a crowd in the Germany city of Munster, German news agency DPA have reported.

A wide scale police operation is now in effect and security forces have said a terrorist attack has not been ruled out. German police said, "several "dead and injured" as a vehicle hit a crowd in Munster, North Rhine-Westphalia".

A local police spokesman Andreas Bode said cops are checking reports that other potential suspects may have fled from the van following the horrific smash.

Germany's new interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said that federal authorities were in contact with the police in North Rhine-Westphalia, where Münster is.

The driver of the transit van shot himself after the incident, which left six of those injured fighting for their lives.

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"Our thoughts are with the victims and their families", said Ulrike Demmer, a spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photos from the scene showed damaged tables and chairs at the outdoor area of a cafe. Police have cordoned off the area.

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Muenster Mayor Markus Lewe said the reason for the crash is still unclear.

A police spokeswoman said: "The danger is over".

The incident reported dw occurred Saturday afternoon near the Kiepenkerl statue in the old town part of the city as townspeople were taking in warm spring weather along the ancient city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Muenster, a major university city, has about 300,000 residents and an attractive medieval city center that was rebuilt after World War II. They have urged people in Muenster to avoid the city's downtown area.

The incident was reminiscent of a December 2016 attack at a Berlin Christmas market where 12 people were killed by a man driving a truck into a crowd.

In this hair-raising ramming attack, a 19-ton cargo truck drove into a crowd of people who were celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France.

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