At least two people have been killed and several others injured after a car ploughed through a pedestrian area of the western German city of Trier, officials say.
Police say the driver, a 51-year-old from the region, has been arrested. The city’s mayor described the scene as “horrible” and said the victims included a girl.
The circumstances of the incident are still not clear. Police have told people to avoid the area.
Witnesses said people screamed in panic and some were thrown into the air as an SUV drove through the Fleischstrasse pedestrianised street, near the city’s famous Roman gate, the Porta Nigra.
A Christmas market that is usually held in the area was cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but shops were open. The area has been cordoned off.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe told public broadcaster SWR that up to 15 people had been injured, and some of them had serious wounds. Speaking at a news conference, he said: “We [had] a driver who ran amok in the city… I just walked through the city centre and it was just horrible. There is a trainer lying on the ground, and the girl it belongs to is dead.” Karl-Peter Jochem, a Trier police spokesman, said the suspect was being questioned and that the danger “was over”. “As to the man’s motive, we can’t say anything yet,” he added.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert called the incident “shocking”. “[Our] thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, the many injured and all those who are helping to care for those affected,” he said on Twitter.
Trier, a city of around 110,000 people, is 720km (450 miles) west of Berlin, near the border with Luxembourg.
Police have also told people not to share pictures and footage of the incident on social media.
Security in pedestrian zones across Germany was tightened after an Islamist militant drove a hijacked truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016, killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others. He was shot dead by Italian police four days later.