German police are engaged in a huge anti-terror manhunt in the city of Munich after nine people died in a shopping mall shooting.
Police are investigating whether one of the bodies is that of a perpetrator.
Three attackers carrying guns were earlier reported to be on the run. Police urged people to avoid public places.
The attack was at the Olympia mall in the north-western Moosach district. Public transport is suspended.
Police, who describe it as “an acute terror situation”, say the first reports of a shooting in Hanauer Street came in just before 18:00 (16:00 GMT).
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, told national TV the motive for the attack was still unclear.
“We cannot rule out that it is linked to terrorism but we can’t confirm it either, but we are also investigating in this direction,” he said.
A meeting of the government’s security cabinet will be held on Saturday.
The Bavarian capital’s central railway station has been evacuated.
People stranded by the emergency and unable to get home are being offered shelter by locals. The initiative was launched with the Twitter hashtag #Offenetür (open door).
Police helicopters are flying over the city and special forces are involved in the massive police deployment.
The elite border security unit, GSG9, is being deployed with several helicopters.
Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer is holding a crisis meeting with security advisers and the German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, who was on his way to the US, is returning home.
Meanwhile the neighbouring Czech Republic is boosting its border security.
More details have begun emerging about events at the shopping centre.
Local resident Dominic Faust described how people entered the mall screaming.
“Those people told us that there was a shooting outside and so the security closed the door of this mall and asked everybody to go upstairs to the fifth floor,” he said.
A man working at a petrol station in Munich earlier told the BBC: “We see just ambulances and firemen and police but all this area is evacuated, all the streets.
“Now [there] are no cars just on the side of the streets. All of the streets are blocked. I see that the people are scared. Everybody are running around.”
Munich police said they did not know where “the perpetrators” were. “Look after yourselves and avoid public places”.
Police also urged people to help their operation by avoiding speculation and to desist from using photos or video of their deployments online.
German security forces have been on alert since a teenage migrant stabbed and injured five people on a train in Bavaria on Monday, in an attack claimed by so-called Islamic State.
The authorities had warned of the danger of further incidents.
Article courtesy of www.bbc.com