Police secure a street near to the scene of a shooting in Munich, Germany on Friday.
Police secure a street near to the scene of a shooting in Munich, Germany on Friday.
Credit:

Michael Dalder/Reuters

At least eight people are believed to have been killed in a shooting rampage in a Munich shopping center on Friday, police said.

The shooting spree began before 4 pm GMT at a McDonald's restaurant and continued on a nearby street before the gunmen moved into the mall near the Olympic stadium in the southern German city, a police spokeswoman said.

Many of the dead were shot inside the McDonald's authorities said. Munich police put the toll at eight, but said at least 10 more were wounded.

Munich's main train station has been evacuated and metro and bus transport in the city suspended, officials said.

As many as three gunmen were involved in the shooting, according to a police statement, citing witnesses.

There was no information about the possible motives of the attack.

President Barack Obama pledged any support needed to Germany. “We don’t yet know exactly what’s happening there, but obviously our hearts go out to those who may have been injured,” he said in Washington. “It’s still an active situation, and Germany is one of our closest allies, and so we are going to pledge all of the support that they may need in dealing with these circumstances.”

Europe has been on alert for terrorism in the wake of a string of attacks including bombings in neighboring France and Belgium.

The OEZ shopping mall was surrounded by armed police, while a helicopter buzzed overhead.

'Stay in your homes'

"There is a major police operation under way in the shopping center," Munich police said on Twitter, urging people to avoid the area.

Emergency vehicles were seen in the streets outside, as shoppers rushed away from the mall, some carrying children in their arms.

"Attention — avoid the neighborhood around the OEZ. Stay in your homes. Leave the street," the Munich police tweet said.

Germany has so far escaped the kind of large-scale jihadist attacks seen in France.

But the shooting comes just days after a teenage asylum seeker went on a rampage with an axe and a knife on a regional train in Germany on Monday, injuring five people, two of them critically.

One victim is still fighting for his life, the hospital treating him said Friday.

The train rampage triggered calls by politicians in Bavaria, of which Munich is the capital, to impose an upper limit on the number of refugees coming into the country.

The assailant had arrived as an unaccompanied minor in Germany in June 2015 and had been staying with a foster family in the region of the attack for the last two weeks.

A record 1.1 million migrants and refugees were let in to Germany last year, with Syrians making up the largest group followed by Afghans.

In the latest attack in France, 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to mow down 84 people, including children, in the Riviera city of Nice last week.

It was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months, after the jihadist carnage in Paris in November and the shootings at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in January 2015.

In March, Islamic State-claimed suicide bomb attacks at Brussels airport and a city metro station left 32 people dead.

In May in Germany, a mentally unstable 27-year-old man carried out a knife attack on a regional train in the south of the country, killing one person and injuring three others.

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