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Germany

Police Hunt Cyclists Over Serial Killings

German police said Sunday they were looking for two cyclists riding dark-colored bicycles and carrying black backpacks in their hunt for the killers of seven foreign shopkeepers and operators of fast-food outlets. Since September 2000 six Turks and a Greek have been murdered with the same handgun, a Czech-made 7.65 mm Ceska pistol, in Nuremberg and Munich in the south of the country, in Hamburg in the north and Rostock in the northeast. In each case the victims were shot in the head. They were a florist, two fruit and vegetable sellers, two Turkish snack-bar staff, a locksmith and a tailor. The cyclists were seen on June 9 in Nuremberg shortly before the killing of the owner of a Turkish snack bar. They were aged between 20 and 30, looked "very much like each other," had short hair and were between 1.85 meters and 1.95 meters (six feet to six and a half feet) tall, police said. The last killing took place in Munich when the Greek owner of a locksmith's shop was gunned down. Witnesses saw a man with a dark-colored backpack, police said. "That's why the news from Nuremberg so interests us," a spokesman said. Munich police published an artist's impression of a man aged about 30 and offered a reward of 25,000 euros ($30,000) for information leading to the solution of the crimes. In 1995 the owner of a small business in Bad Salzungen in eastern Germany was killed with the same weapon, according to a Nuremberg newspaper. But Munich police have refused to establish a direct link between that unsolved crime and the other murders.

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