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Ten hurt in school firebomb attack in Germany

Ansbach – An 18-year-old went on the rampage at his school in Germany on Thursday, lobbing Molotov cocktails and injuring 10 people, one of whom is fighting for her life, before being shot and arrested.

Six months almost to the day after 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer massacred 15 people in and near the town of Winnenden, the teenager hurled two Molotov cocktails and also slashed people with knives and an axe, police said.

Two schoolgirls were seriously hurt, one in a critical condition with cuts to the head, and the other with burns. The attacker was also seriously injured after being shot by police. Seven pupils and one teacher were also hurt.

Police, who rushed to the secondary school in Ansbach near Nuremberg in Bavaria at around 8:30 am (0630 GMT), called on the attacker to surrender, but he refused and the officers opened fire, spokesman Udo Dreher said.

"Machine guns were used and on the basis of current information he was hit five times," Dreher told a news conference.

The teenager was rushed to hospital in a critical condition, but he is now stable, Dreher added. Due to his injuries, he had not yet been interviewed by investigators.

Fellow pupils described the perpetrator, who has no criminal record, as a "loner".

Police said they got an emergency call at 8:35 am local time (0635 GMT) and rushed to the scene. Television channels showed large numbers of armed police in flak jackets and dozens of fire engines at the school.

He was arrested only 11 minutes later, which Bavaria’s interior minister, Joachim Hermann, ascribed to improvements put in place since the massacre in Winnenden in March.

"Our experience here makes clear that our improved procedures are effective," Hermann told a news conference, "The quick response prevented even worse happening."

The incident took place at the Gymnasium Carolinum, a university-track secondary school of around 700 pupils described by a Bavarian culture ministry spokesman as "rich in tradition".

"It is definitely not a problem school," said the spokesman, Ludwig Unger. "It has a very good reputation in the town."

Ansbach, a picturesque medieval town in the wealthy Franconia region of northern Bavaria, set up a hotline for worried parents.

Authorities are on high alert in Germany after the bloodbath unleashed by Kretschmer in March, when he expertly picked off pupils, teachers and bystanders with his father’s handgun.

He then died in a dramatic shoot-out with police. It was the second worst school shooting in German history after 17 people including the teenage gunman perished in the eastern city of Erfurt in 2002.

Since Winnenden, there have been several warnings of copycat shootings, often on the internet, with armed police evacuating schools on several occasions.

In May 2009, a 16-year-old girl was arrested after arriving at a school wearing a mask and armed with several knives, an air gun and a rucksack full of bottles of flammable liquid.

AFP / Expatica