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Car plows into crowd, driver shot by police in Heidelberg, Germany

Car plows into crowd, driver shot by police in Heidelberg, Germany

A man has injured three people by driving his car into a crowd at a square in the central German city of Heidelberg, as police reject speculations that the incident could be of terrorist nature.

Police said on Saturday that officers managed to track down the suspect and shot him after he fled the scene of the attack, which took place outside a bakery around afternoon.

Police spokeswoman Anne Baas said one of those injured was in critical condition. Another police spokesman, Norbert Schaetzle, said the man reportedly used a rental car and was carrying a knife when he got out of the vehicle.

A short standoff then broke out before police managed to intercept the suspect and shot him, local media said, adding that the attacker was then carried to a hospital. Schaetzle would not confirm reports in the media that the man was mentally disturbed, but said police was not considering the incident as a terrorist attack as the man was apparently acting alone.

Over the past two years, Germany has suffered several attacks of terrorist nature both from elements of its far-right, nationalist groups as well as people believed to have links to the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which is based in Iraq and Syria.

More than a million people were admitted into Germany from an influx of refugees that began to hit Europe in early 2015.

Many say refugees are to blame for a surge in security threats to the liberal policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The criticism forced Berlin to revise criteria for accepting refugees, saying only those from war-ravaged territories, including from Syria, would be welcome.

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