Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

German police search for clues in Cologne hostage-taking

German police search for clues in Cologne hostage-taking

As the sprinkler system activated and water rained down in the fast-food restaurant, the man entered an adjacent pharmacy and took another woman hostage, whom he also threatened to burn in the ensuing drama, said police.

There were no immediate details on who was taken hostage or how many people were involved.

Police on Twitter told people to avoid the station. The man allegedly demanded the release of a Tunisian woman.

A woman held hostage by the perpetrator was only "lightly wounded", police tweeted shortly after she was freed around 3:00 pm (1300 GMT). Police said only that he was injured during the police operation to free the woman.

"As he was approaching the pharmacy, he is said to have been shouting ... that he belongs to the Daesh terrorist group", Klaus Rueschenschmidt, head of the Cologne police Special Tasks Directorate, told the German media at a press conference, citing witnesses to the incident and using an Arab acronym for IS. The initial attack triggered a fire alert which saw Cologne city fire engines deployed to the station.

A man took a woman hostage at a pharmacy at Cologne train station around 12:45 p.m. (1045 UTC) on Monday, police said.

After storming the pharmacy and apprehending the assailant, police found a passport of a Syrian national at the scene. The entire station, one of the biggest in the country, was evacuated and closed off as well as Breslauer Platz square behind the station.

"We also do not rule out a terrorist attack", Brauns said. Deutsche Bahn, Germany's main train operator, said the station would be closed until further notice and all traffic, including long-distance connections, had been suspended. "A female hostage has sustained light injuries and is being tended to".

Ambulances and heavily-armed police were lined up in wait behind the train station.

Police tweeted that the hostage was slightly injured and was now being treated.

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