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Manhunt continues for German forest 'Rambo' who disarmed police officers

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By Laura Sanders  & Euronews  with AP
A police helicopter stands on a sports field in Oppenau, southern Germany.
A police helicopter stands on a sports field in Oppenau, southern Germany.   -   Copyright  Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa via AP)/dpa via AP   -   A police helicopter stands on a sports field in Oppenau, southern Germany, Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

German authorities are continuing their large-scale manhunt for a suspect who disarmed four police officers and made off with their weapons on Sunday.

Hundreds of officers are involved in the search for 31-year-old Yves Rausch in the Black Forest region near Offenburg.

The man has been nicknamed "Rambo" after drawing similarities to a fictional Vietnamese War veteran who went on the run from police in the US.

Rausch is thought to know the forest area well and police believe he has gone into hiding.

Over the last four days, police say they have investigated more than 270 clues about shelters in the forest and potential sightings of the suspect. Caves, bunkers and old buildings in the area have been searched.

Police also said they encountered somebody who looks like the suspect on Thursday morning but it was a false alarm.

Rausch is said to have initially cooperated when he was approached by police on Sunday, before "massively threatening" them to put down their guns. This is when he disarmed four officers and fled into the forest with their weapons.

"Suddenly, and completely unexpectedly for the officers, he pulled out a firearm and threatened the investigators, leaving them no time to react to the dangerous situation," Offenburg police said.

No-one was injured in the exchange, which occurred around 30 kilometres from Germany’s border with France.

Authorities have warned residents to stay indoors while officers, supported by tactical teams, sniffer dogs and helicopters, combed the surrounding area.

German air traffic control had also issued a ban on flights and drones within a radius of three nautical miles of Oppenau.

A pre-trial arrest warrant was issued for the suspect at the request of the Offenburg public prosecutor, due to "urgent suspicion of particularly serious predatory extortion in deliberate unlawful possession of a firearm".