April 24, 2024

A number of people have been killed in a shooting at a Jehovah’s Witness meeting hall in the north German city of Hamburg.

Police say a gunman is believed to be dead. It is unclear if the attacker is among six or seven fatalities reported by German media.

As yet, “there is no reliable information on the motive”, police say.

A number of people were also injured in the shooting on Deelböge street in the city’s Gross Borstel district.

Police spokesman Holger Vehren said investigators had “indications that a perpetrator may have been in the building and may be even among the dead”, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Police did not have to use their firearms during the incident, he said.

Mr Vehren said that police had heard a “shot coming from the upper floors of the building”. There were no indications of a perpetrator on the run, he added.

Mr Vehran also said he had no information on the severity of the injuries suffered by the wounded, who had been taken to hospital.

An alert was sent on the federal warning app, NINAwarn, at around 21:00 (20:00 GMT) telling locals that “one or more unknown perpetrators shot at people in a church”.

Residents nearby were told not to leave their homes amid the ongoing police operation.

Footage showed police escorting people out of the meeting hall, some to ambulances.

Hamburg’s Interior Minister, Andy Grote, said on Twitter that police special forces and a large number of officers had been deployed to the scene.

Police have appealed to the public not to share assumptions or to spread rumours.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of a Christian-based religious movement.

The denomination was founded in the USA towards the end of the 19th century, under the leadership of Charles Taze Russell. The headquarters of the movement is in New York.

Map showing Hamburg shooting
By Emily McGarvey
BBC News

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