German police storm Karlsruhe pharmacy, arrest suspected hostage-taker


GERMAN police said it had arrested a male suspect after a special unit stormed a pharmacy in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe where multiple people had been held hostage for hours.

A number of explosions were heard when officers in tactical gear entered the pharmacy in the city centre after first arriving on the scene at around 4:30 p.m.

“A special unit entered the pharmacy at 21:10; a male suspect was arrested,” Karlsruhe police said on Twitter.

Officers restrained a man they had brought out of the pharmacy, covered his head in a blanket and bundled him into a car.

The building was being searched and there appeared to be no injuries, they said.

The incident follows Thursday’s deadly rampage at a Jehovah’s Witnesses hall in Hamburg, putting the country on edge. Gun violence is rare in Germany.

Earlier police said in a joint statement with prosecutors that there were “multiple” hostages involved.

Police had cordoned off Karlsruhe city centre where multiple blue and grey police vehicles with flashing lights lined the streets.

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The Stuttgarter Zeitung reported that two people had been taken hostage and that there was a demand for a ransom of a single-digit million euro sum.

The police spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

Earlier Germany’s Bild newspaper had reported that the police were in contact with the alleged hostage-taker.

Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics

Karlsruhe, not far from the French border, is a city of some 300,000 people and home to the Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s highest court.

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