30 injured as car driven into crowd at German carnival

A man has intentionally driven a car into a crowd at a carnival parade in a small town in central Germany, injuring around 30 people including children, officials said.

The driver, a 29-year-old German citizen who lived locally, was arrested at the scene in Volkmarsen, near Kassel, prosecutors said. He is being investigated on suspicion of attempted homicide.

A spokesman for Frankfurt prosecutors, Alexander Badle, said in a statement that "about 30 people" were injured, including children. They were taken to surrounding hospitals, some with life-threatening injuries.

The suspect was also injured, said Mr Badle.

"The investigation, especially into the circumstances of the crime, continues," he said. "In particular, no information can yet be provided about a motive. The investigation is exploring all avenues."

Chancellor Angela Merkel sent her condolences to those injured in the crash, wishing them a speedy and full recovery. She also thanked police and medical personnel involved.

Emergency responders set up a makeshift clinic in a town pharmacy to treat casualties with minor injuries, the regional Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported.

Witnesses said the car drove around a barrier blocking off traffic from the parade, according to the paper.

Video from the scene showed a silver Mercedes with local licence plates on a pavement, its front windscreen badly smashed and bonnet dented, and its hazard lights blinking, while emergency crews walked by.

Forensic experts could be seen taking photos and measurements around the car, walking around fragments of carnival costumes that littered the ground.

The crash came during the height of nationwide celebrations, with the biggest parades in Cologne, Dusseldorf and Mainz.

All other carnival parades in the central state of Hesse were ended on Monday as a precaution.

Hesse state is still reeling from a racist shooting last week in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau. A 43-year-old man killed nine people with immigrant backgrounds late on Wednesday before killing his mother and then himself.