- The Washington Times - Friday, July 22, 2016

German police on Friday blamed a lone gunman for killing nine people and wounding 16 others at a Munich shopping center in what they earlier called “suspected terrorism” but then discovered was not related to the Islamic State terror group.

Police tweeted: “We found a man, who killed him [sic] himself. We assume, that he was the only shooter. #gunfire #munich”

The gunman, an 18-year-old Iranian-German man with dual citizenship from Munich, wore black clothes during the rampage, police said at a news conference, The Associated Press reported. 

Police searched his home overnight and found literature on mass shootings, including a book titled, “Rampage in Head: Why Students Kill,” and they determined that the obsessed teen was acting alone and not affiliated with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, AP said.

A “major police operation” was launched earlier in the day for what they thought were three gunmen, based on descriptions by witnesses, Sky News reported. Munich police tweeted thanks late Friday night to the “2,300 forces for their dedication and commitment.”

The gunman fired shots inside a McDonald’s near the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum shopping center before walking outside and shooting more victims as they fled.

Police tweeted that 10 people were killed, including the gunman, and 16 others were wounded. In a televised press conference earlier on CNN, police said they were closely monitoring nearby clinics to check for other fatalities.

A witness told CNN that her son saw the gunmen load a pistol in the men’s room of a McDonald’s near the shopping center before the rampage began. The man exited the bathroom, shot several children and yelled “Allahu akbar,” the witness recalled.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was briefed on the Munich attack, the AP reported.

On Friday afternoon, President Obama said he also had been briefed on the apparent terrorist shootings in Germany, but said the situation was still unfolding.

“We don’t yet know exactly what’s happening,” he told a group of law enforcement officials meeting at the White House.

Mr. Obama called Germany a close ally and said the U.S. will “pledge all the support that they may need” in the investigation.

Later, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. condemned the “apparent terrorist attack,” calling it “heinous.”

“The resolve of Germany, the United States, and the broader international community will remain unshaken in the face of acts of despicable violence such as this,” he said.

According to Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, the city had shut down its transit system when authorities believed three shooters were still on the loose. Most of the transit system was restored upon news of the gunman’s death, police said.

Earlier in the afternoon, the U.S. Consulate in Munich had tweeted, “German media reporting shots fired at Olympia Einkaufszentrum. Closely follow police instructions and shelter in place.”

Republican nominee Donald Trump, who gave a keynote GOP convention speech Thursday night about the threats to the U.S., also tweeted, “Another attack, this time in Germany. Many killed. God bless the people of Munich.”

“It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. The previous attacks, in the French resort city of Nice and on a train in Bavaria, were claimed by the Islamic State group,” the AP report said. “While police called the mall shooting an act of terrorism, they said they had ‘no indication’ it involved Islamic extremism and at least one witness said he heard a shooter shout an anti-foreigner slur.”

Peter Altmaier, Mrs. Merkel’s chief of staff, noted that Friday was the fifth anniversary of the massacre in Oslo, Norway, AP said. Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right extremist, killed 77 people. He was convicted and sentenced to 21 years.

Back in Munich, the area around the shopping center was already under heightened security since Monday, when a young man yelling “Allahu akbar!” attacked individuals on a train in Wurzburg with an ax, wounding five, according to The Independent newspaper of London.

Police shot and killed the suspect, whom Bavarian authorities identified as a 17-year-old Afghan citizen.

The Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS, later claimed responsibility for the train attack.

Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday that an ISIS flag was found by authorities in the attacker’s apartment.

Last week in Nice, France, a white tractor-trailer truck drove into a crowd of people who were celebrating Bastille Day. As fireworks went off at the resort town as part of the celebration, Mohamed Lahouaiyej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, drove his truck on the busy promenade and killed 84 people before he died in a shootout with French police.

Dave Boyer contributed to this article.

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

• Maria Stainer can be reached at mstainer@washingtontimes.com.

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