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Thursday, 14 August 2008

Four men reportedly stormed the De Rocco ice-cream parlour in Rüsselsheim south-west of Frankfurt yesterday evening and shot three people dead

07:41 |

Four men reportedly stormed the De Rocco ice-cream parlour in Rüsselsheim south-west of Frankfurt yesterday evening and shot three people dead before fleeing down a pedestrian street.Two Turkish citizens, aged 49 and 28, were arrested today following a manhunt involving more than 200 police with helicopters and sniffer dogs. Police were continuing their search. One of the victims was a 55-year old Greek woman identified as Anna K, who ran a Greek restaurant next to the ice-cream parlour. She was caught in the crossfire after leaving the cafe as the dispute escalated, and died from internal bleeding in the arms of her husband at the scene.
The two other victims were men of Turkish origin aged 26 and 29. The first was described by police as being one of the attackers. His 21-year-old brother was also seriously injured and under police protection in hospital last night. The second dead man was said to have been sitting at the table when the men opened fire.
The attack has raised fears that provincial Germany is becoming a battleground for gang warfare after an incident almost exactly a year ago in which six Italians were gunned down at an Italian-run pizzeria in Duisburg, north-west of Frankfurt. It was quickly established that the Calabrian mafia, known as the 'Ndrangheta, was responsible for that shootout and had taken advantage of the relative obscurity of provincial Germany to continue a decades-old feud. The killings were the first time a mafia syndicate had carried out a revenge attack on foreign soil.
Today police refused to rule out a mafia or organised crime connection in the Rüsselsheim killings, but said the Turkish origin of the victims and attackers in the latest incident suggested the attacks were not linked.
"We don't know why the attack took place in the ice cream parlour," Roland Desch of Hessen police said.The brutality of the killings has shocked Germany and raised concerns that it is becoming a hub for underground economic crime.
"This is a very complex case," said Stefan Müller of the state of Hesse crime squad. He added that the killings, which involved knives as well as two guns, could have been "honour killings" which either had to do with a dispute between two parties, or were sparked by rivalries between two gangs.
The police said there was evidence that a motive for the attack may have been unpaid gambling winnings and be linked to another gambling dispute three years ago. At least two of the men involved in the incident were caught up in a dispute involving knives at a Turkish community centre in Rüsselsheim last Saturday to which the police were called.

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