Cologne: Islamic State Sympathiser Takes Hostage, Sets Fires

 

Heavily armed police units deployed to the German city of Cologne Monday after shots were reported to have been fired and a hostage taken at the city’s central rail station.

Travellers were ordered to evacuate the large central station, which sits on Cologne’s Dom Platz beneath the city’s historic cathedral early Monday afternoon.

Update 1700BST:
The Cologne hostage situation is now over, German police have stormed the pharmacy where the alleged attacker is reported to have holed up with a captured woman, having previously attacked a 14-year-old girl with fire at a McDonald’s restaurant.

Cologne’s Express newspaper reports both the hostage and the attacker have been injured. The suspect is reported to have spoken in Arabic about the Islamic State.

German magazine Focus reports sources who claim that while earlier reports of gunfire may have been mistaken, the suspect is indeed a sympathiser of the Islamic State and had to be revived by medics after the police operation to free his hostage.

Locally published newspaper the Koln Express reports a hostage was taken in a pharmacy inside the station and that fire engines were also called after officers responding to the incident smelt burning.

Shockingly, the paper also reports unconfirmed claims that the attacker attempted to set his hostage, a woman, on fire.

German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports two shots have been fired at the station, although it is unclear by who. Police have contacted the hostage taker.

A force spokesman told local television: “We need to find out what he wants, what his demands are and whether he carries a weapon.”

There is presently no indication of the identity of the hostage taker, nor motive.

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