Motive behind van attack in Germany still a mystery

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His run-ins with the law regarded threats, property damage, fraud and a hit-and-run, but Ms Adomeit said all charges were dismissed.

A top German security official said there was no indication of an Islamic extremist motive but officials were investigating all possibilities in the deadly crash that took place at 3:27 p.m. on a warm spring day.

Police also identified the two victims killed in the incident as a 51-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man.

Muenster police president Hajo Kuhlisch said the man had four apartments and several cars, all of which were searched by police.

According to the German authorities, this incident can not be considered a terrorist attack.

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And in Spain, the jihadists also claimed a rampage along Barcelona's Las Ramblas boulevard in August 2017 that killed 14 and left more than 100 injured.

A witness told German newspaper Bild: "I heard a loud, thumping blow, and suddenly people were yelling "Oh my God". He confirmed that police have ruled out terrorism in the ongoing investigation.

Large portions of the city center remained shut down hours later, as helicopters hovered in the sky and police officers with large rifles blocked streets.

The driver was a German citizen, said Herbert Reul, state minister for internal affairs in North Rhine-Westphalia.

According to Die Welt, the lead suspect who had planned the knife attack reportedly knew Anis Amri, a Tunisian who killed 12 people and injured several dozen more when he drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016.

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"This was a terrible and sad day for the people of Muenster, all of Germany ... and also the people of The Netherlands, who were sitting here and became victims", he said. "Investigations are being conducted at full speed and covering all possible directions".

In the van, the authorities managed to find only the driver's weapon "a gun and big fireworks, whose powder can be used to make an explosive".

Police spokesman Peter Nuessmeyer told The Associated Press that he could not confirm German media reports that the perpetrator reportedly had psychological issues.

The local daily Muenstersche Zeitung reported that the perpetrator had vaguely announced his suicide plans a week ago in an email to friends, and that he was known to the authorities for previous violence and drug violations.

The man killed two people when he ploughed the vehicle into people seated at tables outside the Grosser Kiepenkerl eatery, a popular destination for tourists in the old town of the university city in western Germany.

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