Two killed as van hits crowded restaurant in Munster, Germany

German news agency dpa says several people were killed after car crashes into crowd in city of Muenster

The senior public prosecutor in Muenster, Elke Adomeit, said the perpetrator, who German media named as Jens R., was known to police for making threats, damaging property, a hit-and-run traffic accident, and fraud.

The suspected driver of a van that ploughed into pedestrians in Germany yesterday suffered from mental health issues and was known to police, the interior minister said. The Interior Ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia would neither confirm nor deny the report. Reuters relays word from German newspaper Die Walt, which writes that authorities detained four men with knives under suspicion that they planned to cause mayhem and death within the crowd of race spectators and competitors.

The man had in his possession two knives which had been especially sharpened for this goal, the report said. "And the police arrived and everyone was sent out", he said.

Bode also said police had found a suspicious object inside the van and were investigating it.

Meanwhile, investigators are still trying to establish the motive for the ramming.

A spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel says "our thoughts are with the victims and their families" who were killed and injured when a vehicle crashed into a crowd in the western German city of Muenster.

Martin Wiech, who said he had studied in Muenster, told Der Spiegel he had driven there to go shopping and was now unable to return to his vehicle. "It is one of the most peaceful cities I know", he said.

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It was a warm sunny afternoon, one of the first nice days of spring, and many people were out, Bild editor Julian Reichelt told CNN.

Amri's attack in Berlin in 2016 had prompted German lawmakers to call for tougher security measures.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "deeply shocked by the bad events in Munster" and that "everything conceivable is being done to investigate the crime and to support the victims and their relatives".

"Everything possible is now being done to clarify the facts and to support the victims and their relatives", she said.

Die Welt has reported that the four suspects were linked to Anis Amri, a Tunisian man with Islamist militant links.

The presidents of Russian Federation and France, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron, each sent their condolences. "France shares in Germany's suffering".

The man who drove a van into a crowd in the German city of Munster was well-known to police and had a history of run-ins with the law, German prosecutors said, adding that they believe he acted alone.

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