Assailant in German cinema attack killed

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VIERNHEIM, Germany — The assailant who attacked a German cinema Thursday has been killed, U.S. officials say, citing their German counterparts.

The suspect entered the cinema, apparently heavily armed, around 3 p.m. local time, authorities said.

An early report from German public TV said 25 people were injured. But it’s not clear if any of the injured were shot, or were hurt in other ways. Police said they won’t release any more details until the operation is over.

The cinema is part of a major shopping center, home to more than 100 businesses. The complex hosts 20,000 visitors daily, according to its website. Viernheim is in western Germany, near Frankfurt.

Mass shootings are rare in Germany. But in 2002, a gunman opened fire at a high school in Erfurt, killing 16 people — 13 staff members, two students and a police officer.

In 2009, a gunman dressed in military gear killed 15 people in a rampage that started at a school and spanned two small towns near Stuttgart.

While the motive for Thursday’s attack remains unclear, police have repeatedly warned that Germany could be a target by ISIS.

Germany absorbed more than 1 million refugees last year, and there have been concerns about the possibility of ISIS cells in the country.