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‘Confused’ man sparks German hostage crisis after killing mother

A hostage-taker has sparked Christmas shopping terror that forced the evacuation of a mall and closure of busy festive markets in the historic city centre of Dresden in Germany.

Police said the “psychologically confused man”, who had reportedly fired gunshots, appeared to be acting alone when he took two people hostage after earlier killing his mother.

The 40-year-old suspect died of the injuries he sustained during the police operation to free the two hostages, who were unharmed, the police said.

“I am outraged by the act of what appears to be a psychologically confused individual acting alone,” said Armin Schuster, the interior minister of the state of Saxony, where Dresden is located.

News outlet TAG24 earlier cited police as saying that the German man was believed to have killed his 62-year-old mother in an apartment building in the Prohlis district of Dresden, southeast of the city centre.

Thousands of people visit the Striezelmarkt which was closed as the hostage crisis unfolded nearby. Photo: Getty

It said that police said the hostage-taking at the Altmarkt-Galerie shopping mall was related to the killing but declined to provide further details.

Radio Dresden reported that the man had tried to enter a building and fired several shots before fleeing.

The Christmas markets which draws thousands of people was closed as the crisis unfolded.

Later, police said the Dresden city centre would be re-opened although the mall would remain closed.

“All-clear! The hostage situation in #Dresden is over!” police said on Twitter.

The incident comes as security has shifted into focus in Germany, after investigators earlier this week foiled a far-right plot to overthrow the German government and install an aristocrat as the leader of a new state.

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