BERLIN — The German police stormed an apartment in the central city of Hanau early Thursday, where they found the body of an person who is believed to have killed at least nine people and injured several others in one of the country’s bloodiest shootings in recent memory.
The police said another person was also found dead in the apartment after they acted on a tip, but they declined to provide further details or suggest a motive for the shootings on Wednesday in Hanau, a city of about 95,000 people that is 10 miles east of Frankfurt.
Images from the city showed several streets still blocked off with red-and-white police tape, as officers combed the crime scenes for evidence. A school and several day care centers in the area remained closed on Thursday, the city’s mayor said on Facebook.
The shootings took place at two bars popular with young people from the city’s Kurdish community, raising speculation that the attacks were carried out by someone with far-right views.
The authorities declined to confirm reports from German news organization that the gunman had left a video and a letter about the attack pointing to a possible far-right motive.
But federal prosecutors said Thursday they were taking over the investigation, the prosecutor in Hanau said, an indication they believed the shooting was linked to terrorism or a wider threat to the country.
An increasing number of attacks by violent far-right extremists have taken place in Germany in recent months, including the slaying of a local politician who expressed support for refugees and an attack on a synagogue in Halle.
Last week, the authorities broke up a suspected far-right terror network, arresting 12 people, including a member of the police force.
Tarek Al Wazir, the economy minister for the state of Hesse, drew comparisons to Anders Brevik, who went on a rampage in Norway in 2011 that killed 77 people, and the attacker in Halle, saying that he believed the gunman appeared to have been self-radicalized.
“We know this from Islamic terrorism, that people radicalize over the Internet videos and in chat groups radicalize,” he told Germany’s n-tv news outlet.
The first attack took place at a hookah bar — sometimes referred to as a shisha bar, named for the water pipes that are smoked on the premises — on Wednesday night. A short time later, at around 10 p.m., residents of Hanau started posted warnings on social media with the license plate number of a car.
German media cited witnesses who reported seeing a vehicle fleeing from the scene, and police later said they were searching for “a dark car” in connection with the attack.
The police said they were called to a different neighborhood in the city, and local media reported that more shots had been fired at the Arena Bar & Cafe before fleeing the scene. At least nine people were killed at the two bars.
“Our thoughts this morning are with the people in Hanau,” Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, wrote in a post on Twitter. “Our deepest sympathies are with the families who are mourning their dead and we hope with the injured that they will heal soon.”
“A terrible evening,” the mayor of Hanau, Claus Kaminsky, told the Bild newspaper. “It will certainly occupy us for a long, long time and it will remain in our sad memories.”
Tiffany May and Austin Ramzy contributed reporting from Hong Kong.
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