German shooting 'nothing to do with pope': Vatican

24th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A shooting incident one kilometre (600 yards) from where Pope Benedict XVI was celebrating mass on Saturday had no link with the pontiff, a Vatican spokesman said.

A man fired three shots from an air gun in the German city of Erfurt, police said, but Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said it was "an incident that had nothing to do with the pope" and that "the pope has not been informed."

"No one noticed," Lombardi said. The shots were fired two hours before Benedict began his celebration of the mass for around 30,000 people.

"According to the German police, it seems to be the action of an unbalanced person," added Lombardi.

The man was arrested and no one was injured in the incident, authorities said.

Security for the pope's first state visit to his native Germany has been extremely tight. Large parts of Berlin, Erfurt and Freiburg have been locked down for the trip amid a colossal police presence.

Local radio reported the shots were aimed at a security official.

By the time the man was arrested, the pope was already at the airport on his way to the staunchly Catholic city of Freiburg in southwestern Germany, where he was due to hold a prayer vigil for young people.

© 2011 AFP

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