Several people were taken hostage in a pharmacy in the city of Karlsruhe, the police said
German authorities launched a large-scale operation in response to what they called a hostage situation in the German southwestern city of Karlsruhe on Friday. A suspect took people hostage in a local pharmacy, demanding a ransom amounting to a single-digit million-euro sum, the German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung reported.
The German police confirmed that law enforcement officers were deployed to the area as several nearby streets were cordoned off. The evening’s events at two nearby concert venues were canceled and people who were unable to get home due to the ongoing investigation were directed to a local school, the police added.
The police did not name the exact number of hostages and only said that “several people” had been taken hostage and that they were “unharmed.” According to the media reports, at least two people were taken hostage.
The people in the pharmacy were held hostage for at least four hours, according to media reports. Photos from the scene published by the German Bild tabloid show armored police vehicles as well as heavy armed police officers at the scene.
Around 9:10pm local time, a special forces unit stormed the pharmacy and detained a male suspect before searching the building, the police confirmed. All of the hostages were freed and no one was injured in the operation.
The incident took place just a day after a gunman killed seven people at a Jehovah’s Witness center in Hamburg, Germany. The gunman, who eventually took his own life when chased by the police, was later identified as a disgruntled former Jehovah’s Witness, who had left the group on bad terms.