German Police Search For Motive In Deadly Van Attack In Muenster

Police confirmed there had been casualties but did not immediately say what happened

It also adds that "an unusable AK-47 rifle" and fireworks had been found during the search operation at the perpetrator's house, while another batch of detonators and a gun were found in the van that was used in the attack.

The restaurant which is a popular destination for tourists in the pretty university city was in disarray when the driver ploughed into people seated at tables outside the Grosser Kiepenkerl eatery.

He was a Munster resident and apparently well off.

Muenster Police President Hajo Kuhlisch says "we are now focusing our investigations on getting a comprehensive picture of the perpetrator's behavior in the weeks (before the crash) to find out his motivation for this awful act".

There was no known connection to radical Islam, he said, but investigators are still combing through the man's background.

The mayor of Muenster says authorities don't yet know the motive behind the van crash that killed three and injured 20 people in his western German city.

A court last month sentenced a man to life in prison for killing one and wounding six others with a knife in a Hamburg supermarket out of a "jihadist" motive last July. TV footage showed a narrow street sealed off Saturday with red-and-white police tape.

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The Kiepenkerl is not only one of the city's best-known traditional pubs, but also the emblem of the city, depicting a traveling salesman with a long pipe in his mouth and a big backpack on his back.

"There was a bang and then screaming".

A police spokeswoman said: "The danger is over". "A lot of people were running away screaming".

"This was a frightful and sad day for the people of Muenster, all of Germany. and also the people of The Netherlands, who were sitting here and became victims", he said as he toured the scene Sunday.

"We are now focusing our investigations on getting a comprehensive picture of the perpetrator's behavior in the weeks (before the crash) to find out his motivation for this frightful act", Kuhlisch said in the statement.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "deeply shaken" by the incident and "everything possible will be done to determine what was behind this act and to help the victims". "My thanks go to all the responders at the scene".

The daily Tagesspiegel reported earlier that a "foreign intelligence service" had warned Berlin police of the possibility of an attack on the half marathon. Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans in Berlin and Colleen Barry in Munich contributed reporting.

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