Three dead in Germany as van ploughs into crowd in Muenster

Several people have been been killed in the city of Muenster, in western Germany after a van drove into pedestrians

Three people have been killed in the western German city of Muenster after a van drove into people sitting outside a popular restaurant.

The driver of the vehicle died after shooting himself, police said. They are not looking for more suspects.

About 20 people are reported injured in the incident, which occurred near the Kiepenkerl statue in the old town. Six are said to be in a serious condition.

Police have closed the area and asked people to avoid the city centre.

"The perpetrator drove into several cafe and restaurant terraces in a major square in the centre of Muenster," police spokeswoman Vanessa Arlt told the AFP news agency.

Authorities said a suspicious object was found in the van but did not specify what it was. Another police spokesman, Andreas Bode, said it was still too early to declare the incident an attack.

He also said that the suspect's identity was not yet known.

The Kiepenkerl statue is located in a popular pedestrian area in the middle of the historic old town. There are traditional inns and restaurants in the vicinity with outdoor seating.

Photographs posted on social media showed tables and chairs strewn outside the Grosser Kiepenkerl restarurant, which is popular with tourists.

An eyewitness said he saw the vehicle drive at speed into the restaurant's seated area, so he was sure it was a deliberate attack.

Ulrike Demmer, the federal government's deputy spokesperson, said the government's thoughts were with the victims and their families.

In December 2016, a lorry ploughed into a crowd at a Christmas market in the German capital, Berlin, killing 12 people.

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