Police and an ambulance are seen near the site of a shooting at a church in Hamburg, northern Germany, where several people were killed on March 9, 2023 / AFP.
“Several” people were killed and others seriously injured in a shooting at a church in Hamburg on Thursday night, police in the German city said.
Hamburg (north) police confirmed on Twitter that “currently there is a large-scale police intervention in Alsterdorf”.
“At first indications, there was a shooting at a church on Delvoeghe street in the Grossvorster district. Several people were seriously injured and some died,” police said on Twitter.
Police said the shooting occurred at 9 p.m. local time, adding that it was “one or more” attackers.
On alert, police warned residents of “extreme danger” in the area.
Residents should stay indoors and avoid the area, police added, adding that the streets around the church were off limits.
Police have not provided exact figures on casualties, but several German media reports say six people have died.
The perpetrators of the attack could be among those killed, police added.
A police spokesman told Nippon TV there were “signs that one of the perpetrators (of the attack) may be inside the building and even among the dead.”
“Many elements of law enforcement are at the scene,” the police added on Twitter.
The Bild newspaper referred to the “bloodshed” and said the incident occurred “in a church of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Germany has been the victim of jihadist attacks, notably the attack on a vehicle claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 12 people in Berlin in December 2016. This jihadist attack is the bloodiest attack committed in Germany.
Germany continues to be targeted by jihadist groups because it has joined coalitions to fight IS, especially in Iraq and Syria, and has been deployed in Afghanistan since 2001.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, between 2013 and the end of 2021, the number of at-risk Muslims in Germany has increased five-fold and now stands at 615. The number of Salafists he is estimated at 11,000, double his in 2013.
Following a warning from the FBI, German authorities announced on January 8 that they had arrested two Iranians suspected of plotting a chemical attack by “Islamists.”