Bottrop attack: German driver 'tried to mow down migrants'

Posted January 03, 2019

A 50-year-old German man clearly meant to kill foreigners when he rammed his silver Mercedes into a crowd of people in the northwestern German town of Bottrop in the early hours of New Year's Day, injuring four, a senior government official said.

A German man has been arrested after repeatedly driving into crowds of people, injuring at least five, in what authorities said Tuesday appeared to have been intentional attacks against foreigners.

The German man is accused of accelerating his vehicle at groups of revellers in Bottrop and Essen, two cities in the west of Germany. "The man had the clear intention to kill foreigners", Herbert Reul, the top security official in North Rhine-Westphalia state, was quoted as saying by the German news agency dpa.

A Syrian woman who suffered life-threatening injuries is recovering in hospital after an emergency operation, police said.

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The mentally ill driver of the silver Mercedes first attempted to hit a group of people in the western city of Bottrop shortly after midnight, but the pedestrians were able to jump out of the way.

All but one of the eight people injured were from Syria and Afghanistan.

The attack occurred after midnight on New Year's Eve at a crowded plaza in Bottrop.

According to national broadcaster NHK, the man told police he was acting in "retribution for the death penalty" without giving more precise details.

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The driver then headed to neighbouring Essen, where he attempted to hit people at a bus stop and was arrested by police.

The driver, who had sought psychological help in the weeks preceding the attack, then killed himself.

The driver first tried to run over a person, but they managed to get out of the way.

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