Up to eight people have been injured after a man intentionally drove into a crowd of people in a German town in what appears to be a racist far-right attack.
Those hit by the car included Syrian and Afghan citizens and the driver made anti-foreigner comments during his arrest, according to officials.
The man, who fled the scene, made racist comments when he was later stopped and arrested, according to a statement by local police and prosecutors.
“Investigators suspect it was a deliberate attack that may be linked to the xenophobic views of the driver,” the statement said.
Police in the city of Bottrop, in western Germany, said a 50-year-old man drove at a pedestrian, who managed to get out of the way of the vehicle, shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day.
He then drove into the city centre, allegedly ramming a crowd with his Mercedes before fleeing towards the nearby city of Essen where he attempted to drive into a group of people waiting at a bus stop, German newspaper Die Zeitreported.
Police said the attack was presumed to be premeditated. They added that there were indications the suspect is mentally ill.
Angela Luettmann, a spokeswoman for Muenster police, couldn’t immediately confirm whether the driver was German but said he came from Essen.