Driver injures four in anti-migrant attack: German police

Police seal off a road in Bottrop Germany after a man drove into pedestrians in a suspected xenophobic attack

Police seal off a road in Bottrop Germany after a man drove into pedestrians in a suspected xenophobic attack

The driver then sped off toward the nearby city of Essen, where he tried and failed to hit people waiting at a bus stop before being arrested by police on suspicion of attempted homicide. The people hit included Syrians and Afghans, some of whom suffered serious injuries.

German prosecutors have charged a man arrested on New Year's day with attempted murder after he rammed his vehicle into crowds of revellers in two separate attacks, police said on Wednesday (Jan 2).

A German man repeatedly drove into crowds in the western city of Bottrop in what authorities there are characterizing as a hate crime.

Authorities said the driver made anti-foreigner comments during his arrest and the attack is presumed to have been premeditated.

"The man had the clear intention to kill foreigners", dpa quoted the top security official in North Rhine-Westphalia state, Herbert Reul, as saying. Then, the driver rammed into a group of people standing next to the street, injuring at least four.

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

He then drove toward Essen, where he twice attempted to run people down, injuring one person, before being arrested by police.

The driver targetted a group of Syrian and Afghan migrants in the attack shortly after midnight.

"Investigators suspect it was a deliberate attack that may be linked to the xenophobic views of the driver", the statement said. Police fatally shot the 48-year-old man, who they said was mentally ill and had wanted to commit suicide.

The man fled on foot, but police found him shortly after in a park, according to The Japan Times. The driver, who fled the scene, was later killed in a shootout with police in Italy.

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