'Several' dead after Hamburg church shooting
Law enforcement officers inside the center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg which was the target of a shooting on March 9, 2023.
Several people were killed and others seriously injured in a shooting Thursday night at a hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg, police said. The shooter is believed to be among those who died on the spot, German police said, indicating that they have at this stage “no indication of fugitive perpetrators”.
The shooting would have leaves seven dead and eight seriously injured, according to the daily Bild, which evokes a bloodbath. A large number of law enforcement agencies are on site, adds the Hamburg police on Twitter.
Avoid the danger zone. In the danger zone, stay where you are and do not go outside for the time being, the Federal Office for Civil Protection asked in a press release.
Law enforcement was called around 9:15 p.m. to report shots fired at the three-storey building, located in the Gross Borstel district, north of the Germany's second largest city, a police spokesman told NTV.
The intervention forces entered the building very quickly and found dead and seriously injured people there, according to this spokesperson.
At the Inside, officers also heard a gunshot coming from the upper part of the building and found another person, the spokesperson continued, stressing that they could not yet give indications on the location. mobile.
In the evening there was a demonstration of Jehovah's Witnesses in the building, the spokesman added.
The news from Alsterdorf/Gross Borstel is shocking, the city's mayor, social democrat Peter Tschentscher, reacted on Twitter. The intervention forces are working hard to pursue the perpetrators and to clarify the context.
Police officers cordon off the church targeted by a shooting in Hamburg on March 9, 2023.
Founded in the 19th century in the United States, Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves the heirs of primitive Christianity and constantly and only refer to the Bible.
The status of the organization varies from country to country: they are considered the same as major religions in Austria and Germany, as a recognized cult in Denmark, as a religious denomination in Italy .
In France, many of their local branches have the status of religious association, and this rigorous movement is regularly accused of sectarian aberrations.
While the motive for the shooting remains unknown at this stage, the German authorities have remained on the alert in recent years in the face of a double terrorist threat, jihadism and right-wing extremism.
Germany has been the victim of jihadist attacks, in particular a ramming attack claimed by the Islamic State group which killed 12 people in December 2016 in Berlin. This jihadist attack is the deadliest ever committed on German soil.
Since 2013 and until the end of 2021, the number of Islamists considered dangerous being in Germany has increased fivefold to currently stand at 615, according to the Interior Ministry. That of the Salafists is estimated at around 11,000, twice as many as in 2013.
Another threat hangs over Germany, embodied by Germany. extreme right, after several deadly attacks in recent years targeting community or religious places. In the racist attack in Hanau, near Frankfurt (west), perpetrated in February 2020, a German involved in the conspiracy movement had killed nine young people, all of foreign origin.