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Man dead after storming German school-police

Written by: Staff
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EMSDETTEN, Germany, Nov 20 (Reuters) A masked man opened fire after storming a school in the western German town of Emsdetten today, wounding several students before he apparently committed suicide.

Television reports identified the man as an 18-year-old former pupil.

A teacher, janitor and several students were wounded in the attack which began at 9.30 a.m. (14:00 IST) when the man entered Scholl secondary school and started firing, a police spokesman said.

''They all appear to be lightly wounded,'' the spokesman from the nearby city of Muenster said.

The man appeared to have killed himself as commandos surrounded the school, the state prosecutor in Muenster said.

The man had an explosive device attached to his body, which experts were attempting to defuse. All the pupils were evacuated from the school.

Emsdetten is a town of 35,000 near the Dutch border. There are 693 pupils at the school, aged roughly between 10 and 15 years old.

In April 2002, Germany suffered its worst school shooting when a gunman killed 17 people, including himself, at a high school in the eastern city of Erfurt.

That shooting reportedly began after a student said he was not going to take a maths test and pulled out a gun.

A hotline was being set up to offer psychological counselling for Scholl students and their families. Local police and prosecutors plan to hold a news conference later today.

REUTERS AB KP1815

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