‘All clear’: German police end hostage-taking in Dresden

Police say the situation is now under control after a hostage-taking by a gunman at the Altmarkt-Galerie in central Dresden.

Police officers secure the area at a Christmas market in Dresden,
Police officers secure the area in central Dresden city in eastern Germany [Matthias Rietschel/Reuters]

German police gave the all clear after a shopping mall and surrounding areas in the eastern German city of Dresden were evacuated because of a hostage-taking.

“The Dresden Police Department is currently carrying out an operation in downtown Dresden. The background is the suspicion of a hostage situation,” the police said in a statement.

A later statement confirmed the incident had been brought under control. “All-clear! The hostage situation in #Dresden is over!” police said on Twitter, adding two people who appeared to be unharmed were in their care.

“We arrested the 40-year-old gunman. Two hostages are now free and safe,” police spokesman Thomas Geithner told reporters at the scene.

Residents were asked to avoid the area around the Altmarkt-Galerie shopping centre in Dresden’s city centre. Public transport and traffic were also restricted because of the police operation and the famous Striezelmarkt Christmas market was closed.

Radio Dresden, a local station located within the shopping compound, said an armed man entered the Ammonhof office building around 8.30am (07:30 GMT) and shots were fired.

German news agency dpa said police found a dead woman in an apartment building in the Prohlis area of Dresden, in what they suspect was a homicide connected to the operation.

The woman’s son is a suspect, police said.

The incident comes as security has shifted into focus in Germany, after investigators earlier this week foiled a far-right plot to overthrow the German government and install an aristocrat as the leader of a new state.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies