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Germany shootings: What we know about the Hanau attacks

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A car in front of one the two bars attacked in Hanau, Germany Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
A car in front of one the two bars attacked in Hanau, Germany Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)   -   Copyright  Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved   -   Michael Probst
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Nine people have been killed in two shootings at shisha bars in the German city of Hanau, near Frankfurt on Wednesday night.

Police say the suspected gunman and his mother were found dead after they stormed the man's home some hours later.

Federal prosecutors have taken over the case and say they suspect a far-right motive for the attacks.

Officials have alluded to extremist material being found at the man's apartment, which is being investigated.

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What happened in the attacks?

There were two attacks several minutes apart on shisha bars – also described as hookah lounges – in two districts of Hanau, a city of some 100,000 people about 20 kilometres from Frankfurt.

Witnesses have described how several shots were fired. The attacks happened at around 10pm CET, according to police.

The first bar attacked was called “Midnight” and the second the “Arena Bar and Cafe”. They are situated about two kilometres apart. Midnight is in Heumarkt in the city centre, the Arena bar in the Kesselstadt district. In the second attack the gunman is believed to have fired on a car and then the bar.

A manhunt was launched lasting several hours as police sought what was then an unknown number of perpetrators.

In photos from the scene a Mercedes car can be seen covered in foil, perhaps indicating that in at least one of the shootings the victims were hit outside the bar.

Shisha bars, often associated with the Middle East or South Asia, are places where customers share flavoured tobacco from a communal instrument, known as a hookah.

Who are the victims?

Reports said three people were killed in the first attack, and five more in the second shooting. Police later said the number of fatalities had risen to nine after another person died of their injuries. Several other people are said to have been injured.

The area where the shootings took place has a large Kurdish community. The Turkish embassy in Berlin reported that five Turkish nationals were among those killed. Earlier, a lawmaker in Hesse's state parliament said he believed the victims came from Turkish and North African backgrounds.

How was the suspect found?

After a seven-hour hunt, police said early on Thursday morning that a suspect had been found dead at his home. The body of another person was discovered at the scene.

The apartment is also said to be in Hanau’s Kasselstadt district, near the scene of the second bar attack.

AP reported that the police had followed up on witness statements about a getaway car, described as a dark vehicle. Police carried out a search of the flat and investigations are focusing on possible far-right material.

What evidence is there for a far-right motive?

Germany has been on alert for far-right extremism. Federal prosecutors -- which investigate serious crimes including terrorism -- have taken over the case and the authorities say they suspect a far-right motive.

The interior minister for the state of Hesse said a website that indicated a "xenophobic motive" was being evaluated. He added that prosecutors were treating it as an act of domestic terrorism.

Police said a video was taken down from social media sites on Thursday morning. Reports have suggested the suspect left a "letter of confession", which is being investigated.

German media reports say investigators found ammunition in the suspect's car, adding that he had a hunting licence. Police are said to have carried out check-ups on his background and to have found nothing untoward.