Updated: 08/04/18 : 10:24:09
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World :: Two dead, twenty injured in German van attack

Two people are dead and 20 injured after a van drove into a crowd in the historical centre of Munster, Germany.

The vehicle, a grey VW van, crashed into pedestrians at the Kiepenkerl restaurant in Munster's main square on Saturday, as the city experienced an unusual flux of visitors due to high temperatures.

The driver, who has been identified as a German natural with no ties to Islamic extremism, died after shooting himself inside the van.

Six out of the 20 injured were taken to the hospital in a critical state.

Authorities have all but ruled out a terror attack, after reportedly searching the suspect's apartment.

German state minister Herbert Reuel said police were investigating all possibilities.

"We have to wait, and we are investigating in all directions," he said.

He did not confirm nor deny media reports that the suspect had a history of mental illness.

Munster is a major university city with about 300,000 residents and a touristic city centre.

"There was a bang and then screaming. The police arrived and got everyone out of here," an eyewitness said, describing the moment the van ploughed into the crowd.

"There were a lot of people screaming. I'm angry - it's cowardly to do something like this."

Police are not looking for more suspects.

The area was initially cleared due to a suspicious object found inside the vehicle.

Buildings around were also evacuated.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "deeply shocked by the terrible events in Munster" and that "everything conceivable is being done to investigate the crime and to support the victims and their relatives".

"My thanks go to all the forces at the scene," she added.

The presidents of Russia and France, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron, each sent their condolences.

Less than two years ago, a truck rampaged through a Berlin Christmas market and left 12 people dead.