x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Five killed in German hostage standoff

Gunman facing eviction seizes hostages in apartment in the southern German city of Karisruhe.

BERLIN // Five people were shot dead after a gunman facing eviction seized hostages in an apartment in the southern German city of Karlsruhe on Wednesday, police said.

The gunman, who possessed several hunting rifles, was thought to be among the dead, officers added.

"Special forces broke into the apartment after smelling smoke and found four dead bodies. Probably one of them is the gunman," a police spokesman told Reuters.

Police later said a fifth body had been also found and that one of the victims was a woman.

They declined to comment on German media reports that the hostages included a bailiff and two other people who had accompanied him to the building, one of whom may have been a locksmith.

"They all died of gunshot wounds," said the police spokesman.

After shots were heard, officers from the police special response unit, some dressed in protective green suits and helmets, sealed off the area around the building in the north part of the city.

Karlsruhe, with nearly 300,000 inhabitants, is located near the French border and is home to Germany's Constitutional Court.