Four people have been confirmed dead and 20 others injured after a van drove into a crowd in the northwestern city of Münster, Germany, Saturday. Police on the scene are not yet calling this a terrorist attack, yet the details about the incident are consistent with other attacks.
“A police spokeswoman said that the driver had shot himself inside the car after driving into the crowd who had been basking in the sunshine outside a restaurant in the town’s historic center on Saturday afternoon,” The Guardian notes.
The driver is one of those confirmed fatalities.
“Six of the 20 people struck were severely injured,” The Guardian adds. “Police said there were looking into reports that two further people had fled from inside the car following the crash. The spokesperson confirmed that a suspicious object had been found inside the car, though would not confirm reports of explosives being found inside the vehicle.”
Word on the suspicious object has only fueled speculation about the motive for the attack. News that two others may have fled has prompted police to advise residents to “avoid the area near the Kiepenkerl pub”.
“Kiepenkerl is a popular bar in the city’s historic downtown area, named after a statue of a traveling salesman from the city, built in 1896,” The Guardian notes. “Münster, a town of around 310,000 citizens, is among the 10 biggest university towns in Germany.”
“The whole of Münster is in mourning after this terrible event,” Münster’s mayor, Markus Lewe siad. “Our condolences are with the relatives of the dead. We wish the injured a quick recovery. At this point we don’t know the background to this incident, but I want to thank the forces at work today in Münster.”
If this is an attack designed to spread terror, it would be similar to the incident in Berlin in 2016. Then, a man in a truck killed 16 pedestrians. A Tunisian immigrant who was seeking asylum hijacked a truck, killed its driver, and then drove into a Christmas market. After the attack, he managed to run more than 1,000 miles before he was killed by Italian police.