At least 6 dead in church shooting in Hamburg, Germany

At least 6 dead in church shooting in Hamburg, Germany


Several people were killed and others seriously injured in a shootout Thursday night at a Jehovah's Witness center in Hamburg, police said.

The shooter is believed to be among those died on the spot, said the police, indicating that at this stage they have “no indication of the perpetrators on the run”.

The shooting would have left 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 moment”, asked the Federal Office for Civil Protection in a press release.

Law enforcement “were called around 9:15 p.m. to report shots fired at the three-story building” in the Gross Borstel district, north of Germany's second-largest city, a report said. spokesman for the police on the NTV channel.

The intervention forces “very quickly entered the building and found the dead and seriously injured”, according to this spokesperson.

Inside, officers also heard a gunshot “coming from the upper part of the building” and found another person, the spokesperson continued, stressing “not yet able to give any indications” on mobile.

“In the evening there was a demonstration of Jehovah's Witnesses in the building,” he added.

“The news from Alsterdorf/Gross Borstel are heartbreaking”, reacted on Twitter the mayor of the city, the social democrat Peter Tschentscher. “The intervention forces are working hard to pursue the perpetrators and to clarify the context”.

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. the other: they are considered on the same level as the “big” 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 “cult association”, and this rigorous movement is regularly accused of sectarian aberrations.

If the reason 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 was the victim of jihadist attacks, in particular a ram truck 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 in Germany has increased fivefold to currently stand at 615 , according to the Ministry of the Interior. That of the Salafists is estimated at around 11,000, twice as many as in 2013.

Another threat hangs over Germany, embodied by the far right, after several deadly attacks in recent years aimed at community or religious places.

In the racist attack in Hanau, near Frankfurt (west), perpetrated in February 2020, a German involved in the conspiracy movement shot dead nine young people, all of foreign origin .