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Germany

Shooter kills two US airmen in attack on military bus at Frankfurt Airport

Two US servicemen have been killed and two more wounded at Frankfurt Airport. A young man, who has since been arrested, opened fire on their US military bus outside Germany's busiest hub.

A police vehicle and a covered bus outside terminal 2 of Frankfurt airport, police officers are securing the scene

Police investigations into the fatal shooting are just beginning

Two men died and two were wounded at Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday, when a young man opened fire on a US military bus outside Terminal 2.

The US Air Force has since confirmed that all four of the victims were airmen, but spokeswoman Major Beverly Mock said she could release no further details on their identity until their next of kin have been notified.

"We don't know the details, but I would like to express how shocked I am," Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a joint news conference with visiting Portuguese prime minister, Jose Socrates. "We will do all we can to investigate what happened. It is a dreadful incident and Germany will do all it can to bring clarity to this matter."

US President Barack Obama also said investigators on both sides of the Atlantic would do everything they could to learn more about the incident.

"I am saddened and I am outraged by this attack that took the lives of two Americans and wounded two others," Obama said during an unscheduled appearance in the White House briefing room.

Attacker hailed from Kosovo

The interior minister for the state of Hesse, Boris Rhein, confirmed earlier police reports that the presumed shooter had been arrested. Rhein said the suspect was 21, had roots in Kosovo, and lived in the Frankfurt area.

The cordoned-off crime scene, seen from above

The crime scene was swiftly secured for investigation

"I cannot say whether the incident was linked to terrorism at this stage," Rhein said, stressing at the scene that the attack was being considered as a homicide in the immediate term. "At the moment, I don't rule anything out," he also said.

Kosovo's interior minister, Bajram Rexhepi, said that authorities in Pristina believed they knew the man's identity, but the government did not confirm this in its official response on Wednesday.

"The government of the Republic of Kosovo is extremely concerned and strongly condemns the killing of two American citizens and the wounding of two others by a citizen from Kosovo that happened today in Germany," the official statement said.

Early stages of investigation

Police had already announced that they had taken a young man from Kosovo into custody. The assailant had reportedly fled the scene after the attack, but was overpowered and arrested in an airport terminal.

"Everything seems to have taken place inside the bus," police spokesman Jürgen Linker told the dpa news agency, adding that evidence gathered so far suggested that the attacker was acting alone.

According to the police on site, one man was found dead on the road in front of the bus, and the driver was also shot dead. The two wounded men, one of whom is in a serious condition, were shot in the head and chest respectively.

The attack took place at roughly 15:20 local time, just outside Terminal 2 in a bus lane open to the public. Police said they didn't know how many people were inside the bus. Officers believe the weapon was a pistol, possibly a revolver.

The possible motives behind the attack, political or otherwise, are not yet clear.

Author: Mark Hallam (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Susan Houlton

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