Two dead on US military bus attack in Germany

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A Kosovan man allegedly shot dead two people, including a US soldier, and seriously injured two others in an attack on a bus carrying US military personnel about to fly home from Germany, local authorities said.

The US soldier was killed along with the driver of the bus, Boris Rhein, interior minister of the western German state of Hesse, told reporters at the scene.

One was killed inside the bus and one outside the vehicle, he added, and the alleged gunman was arrested by German police inside the Terminal Two building at the airport, one of Europe's busiest.

"Everything happened on board the bus," police spokesman Juergen Linker told AFP after the incident at Frankfurt airport. "The suspected gunman has been arrested. There are two dead and two seriously injured."

The police spokesman added that there was no exchange of fire on board the bus. The suspect used a handgun, Rhein said, while media reports said that the man also had a knife.

Another police spokesman, Andre Sturmeit, said that those injured were taken to a civilian hospital, but he was unable to say if they were in a critical condition.

He was unable to say how many people were on a bus.

The scene was sealed off after the attack, an AFP reporter at the scene said, with the bus shielded from view. German police and fire brigade were present, but no one from the US military police was visible.

The US military has a number of major bases near Frankfurt, including the Ramstein airbase, which are used as hubs for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Germany, which opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq but has more than 4,000 troops in Afghanistan, has beefed up security and surveillance in response to the threat of attacks in recent years.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States were planned in part in the German port city of Hamburg by an Al-Qaeda cell led by Mohammed Atta, the hijacker of the first plane to strike New York's World Trade Center.

In March 2010 a German court jailed four Islamic militants who dreamed of "mounting a second September 11" for a thwarted plot to attack US soldiers and civilians in Germany.

The men from the Sauerland cell, named after the region where three of them were captured in September 2007, admitted to belonging to a "terrorist organisation", plotting murder and conspiring for an explosives attack.

© 2011 AFP

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