Gunmen opened fire outside a McDonald’s and at other locations in a shopping mall in Munich today, leading to warnings from authorities for residents to stay inside this Friday night.
The shooters were still on the loose as German officials said at least nine people were killed. It wasn’t known if any of the terrorists were among the bodies. Law enforcement warned locals to not post photos or video of their operations on social media as they hunt for the killers.
“Please avoid public areas in Munich right now,” the Munich Police tweeted. “The suspects are still on the run. Please avoid public places.” Public transportation was shut down.
Police said “up to three” shooters were still at large.
The attack at the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum mall, near Munich’s Olympic Park, occurred just before 6 p.m. local time.
A witness told CNN that her 8-year-old son saw a heavyset man in dark clothes loading a gun in the McDonald’s bathroom, emerging and “killing children.” She said she is a Muslim originally from Kosovo and recognized the shooter saying “Allahu Akbar.”
As rumors circulated online of another attack location, Munich Police tweeted, “Other crime scenes than Hanauer Str. can not be confirmed.”
It’s near where Israeli athletes were massacred at the 1972 Olympic Games. The shopping center was opened at the time the country hosted the games.
ISIS supporters reacted with glee on Twitter, with one declaring “soon all of Europe is bound to erupt.”
“I know how Germany wants to kill the Muslims in Syria,” posted another with the hashtag #Munich.
The attack comes three days after an Afghan immigrant teenager attacked passengers on a train near Würzburg with an ax and knife. Five people were wounded and the terrorist was shot dead by police.
ISIS’ Amaq news agency released a video of the 17-year-old attacker waving a knife and claiming in Pashto to be a “soldier of the caliphate.” ISIS has been battling for recruits in Afghanistan, fighting with the Taliban in the process.
ISIS has also recently prominently featured Germans as they urge supporters to conduct attacks on Western soft targets.
A video released by the terror group last month focused largely on German ISIS fighter Abu Umar al-Almani, a Stuttgart-born telecommunications worker who went to join ISIS in 2014 and later took part in an execution video with an Austrian terrorist. In that video, Abu Umar urged Muslims in Germany to “attack the kuffar in their own homes, kill them wherever you find them.”
He was killed on March 16 in a suicide attack on Kurdish YPG units in Syria. The video featured conversations with Abu Umar in his native German as he readied for his suicide mission, interspersed with footage of Berlin. He was shown noshing on a baguette sandwich and spritzing on cologne with a smile at an Islamic State store.
When an animated re-enactment of the suicide attack was shown, the filmmakers show a Mercedes SUV heading for the Kurds — likely a nod to Germany instead of what expendable vehicle was really used in the bombing.
President Obama was scheduled to meet with law enforcement officials from around the country this afternoon, and said he was “a little bit delayed” because he was being briefed about the shooting in Germany
“We don’t know yet exactly what is happening there,” he said. “Obviously our hearts go out to the injured.”
Obama said the U.S. government would “pledge all the support they may need in dealing with these circumstances.”
He added that the attack was a reminder that “our way of life, our freedoms, our ability to go about our business every day … that depends on law enforcement.”
This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. EST