German police: Man intentionally drove into crowd, injured 4

German police: Man intentionally drove into crowd, injured 4

German police: Man intentionally drove into crowd, injured 4

Angela Luettmann, a spokeswoman for Muenster police, couldn't immediately confirm whether the driver was German but said he came from Essen.

The 50-year-old driver of a silver Mercedes first attempted to hit a group of people in the city of Bottrop, but the pedestrians were able to jump out of the way, Muenster police said.

The driver, whose name wasn't released, made anti-foreigner comments during his arrest and there were indications he suffered from mental illness, police said.

Meanwhile, at least eight people were injured, one seriously, when a vehicle ploughed into crowds celebrating New Year's Day in Tokyo early yesterday. The people hit included Syrians and Afghans, some of whom suffered serious injuries.

The man also tried to drive into a group of people waiting at a bus stop in the neighboring Ruhr city of Essen, before he was stopped and arrested by police.

The man "clearly meant to kill foreigners", said North Rhine-Westphalia state interior minister Herbert Reul.

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A little later, the driver attempted another attack in a town close to Essen, without managing to injure anyone.

Four people were wounded, one of whom remains in hospital.

The attack occurred after midnight on New Year's Eve at a crowded plaza in Bottrop. The driver, who fled the scene, was later killed in a shootout with police in Italy.

"The investigating authorities are now working on the basis this was a deliberate attack, which may been motivated by xenophobia", police and prosecutors said in a joint statement.

The man fled on foot, but police found him shortly after in a park, according to The Japan Times.

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