12 injured after men ram cars into crowds
Police detained a 50-year-old German man early yesterday on suspicion of ramming his car into a crowd of people in the north-western German town of Bottrop, injuring four, in what authorities say may have been a xenophobic attack.
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.
"In addition, investigators have preliminary information about a mental illness of the driver."
A police spokeswoman said Syrian and Afghan citizens were among those injured, but gave no further details.
Meanwhile, at least eight people were injured, one seriously, when a vehicle ploughed into crowds celebrating New Year's Day in Tokyo early yesterday.
A police spokesman said the driver had been detained and national broadcaster NHK said the man had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
He was identified as Kazuhiro Kusakabe (21), from Osaka, a major city located about 400km southwest of Tokyo.
NHK said that the suspect had initially described the incident as an "act of terror" but later said the attack was in retaliation for capital punishment.
The incident happened shortly after midnight local time in the popular tourist area of Harajuku, near Meiji Shrine, in central Tokyo.