A massive manhunt is underway after two people were shot dead and others injured after gunmen opened fire near a synagogue and kebab shop in Germany.
The shooting happened at around 12 midday in the city of Halle, in the east of the country, with police confirming there have been fatalities.
A car has been hijacked and further shots have also been heard in the city of Landsberg, which is around nine miles away.
Police are urging people to “stay calm” amid the terrifying incidents unfolding, while federal prosecutors are taking over the investigation, a procedural step that indicates a possible link to terrorism.
They say it is an “ongoing operation” as they hunt several suspects ‘wearing camouflage clothing’ who fled Halle in a car in the direction of Leipzig and were on a motorway that leads to Munich.
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The victims are understood to be a man and a woman.
Terrifying footage has emerged of one of the suspects getting out of a car and firing shots, while images being shared on social media show a man roaming the streets holding a gun.
One person was detained just before 1pm.
Police said: “Our forces have arrested one person. Still stay alert. We have strong forces in and around Halle and stabilize the situation until all information is secured.”
A blood-covered taxi driver has also reportedly been rushed to hospital by air ambulance after he tried to stop the suspects from fleeing in his car. His wife was also injured and is in hospital too.
Meanwhile, a witness claimed to Bild they saw a man with a balaclava, helmet, storm mask and military jacket. He was armed with an assault rifle.
He reportedly tried to invade a synagogue and Jewish cemetery and fired several shots at the door but could not get inside. Around 80 to 100 people were in the building at the time.
The devastating incident comes on one of the most important days of the Jewish faith, Yom Kippur.
It is the holiest day of the year in Judaism when Jews fast for more than 24 hours, seeking atonement.
A police spokesman said: “Due to the current events in Halle, we increase the protective measures for the Dresden Synagogue and the Jewish cemetery.”
Dr. Nora Goldenbogen, 70, chairman of the Jewish community in Dresden, said: “This terrible act shocks us deeply. So far, we always felt safe, there was no evidence that we were in danger.”
A grenade-like object is also said to have been thrown at a nearby Jewish cemetery and a kebab shop, which has been sealed off.
The device caused a loud bang, but no severe damage, according to a witness.
Konrad Rösler, 28, a railway employee, told publication Bild: “I stood in the doner shop. You have the man in army clothes with rifle. Then he threw something that looked like a grenade.
“But it was more like a Pollenböller. The thing has rebounded in the door frame. Then he shot into the glass.
“I found a toilet and locked myself up there. Then I heard another bang. At some point I heard the police and I made myself known and went out.”
Police are urging people to stay inside their homes or “find safe places” as the suspects remain on the loose.
Earlier, they tweeted: “According to initial findings, two people were killed in Halle. There were several shots.”
Investigators have sealed off the area in the Paulus district as well as the station and a nearby school.
All available police units are currently being moved to Halle and it has been deemed a “special situation”.
The fire brigade has also been put on alert.
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“We have a deployment in Halle,” local police said on Twitter.
“According to preliminary findings, people killed.
“We are conducting urgent searches. Perpetrator on the run. Please stay at home or look for another secure place.”
Residents were also warned of the incident via an app which urged people to stay away from windows and doors.
It said: “Firearms use in urban areas. Do not leave buildings and apartments away from windows and doors. Notes: Turn on radio and television.”
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MP Dr Karamba Diaby tweeted: “Two people were in Halle killed.
“This is reported by the police hall. The alleged perpetrators are on the run. Please be careful. The police asks the population to stay in their apartments.”
We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.