HANAU (AFP) -- At least eight people were killed in two shootings at shisha bars in Germany, with an unknown number of attackers still at large, police and media said.
The shootings late Wednesday targeted bars in Hanau, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Frankfurt, according to local media, where police launched a huge manhunt for the gunmen.
The first attack occurred at the "Midnight" bar in the centre of the city around 10pm (2100 GMT), police and reports said. Witnesses reported hearing a dozen shots, local media said.
The attacker, or attackers, then fled the scene by car, according to police. There was then a second shooting at Arena Bar.
According to local media reports, three people were killed in front of the first bar and five in front of the second.
At least five people were also seriously wounded, reports said.
An AFP journalist at the scene saw around thirty police cars leaving Hanau police station and, according to witnesses, police officers with machine guns were deployed in the city.
A silver Mercedes covered by what looked like a survival blanket could be seen behind a police cordon and surrounded by officers in front of "Arena Bar", with shattered glass on the floor.
"The police can now confirm that eight people were fatally wounded. The search for suspects is going at top speed. There is no clear information yet as to a motive," authorities said.
Germany has been targeted in recent years by several extremist attacks, one of which killed 12 people in the heart of Berlin in December 2016.
But far-right attacks have become a particular concern for German authorities.
In October, a deadly anti-Semitic gun attack in the eastern city of Halle on the holy day of Yom Kippur underscored the rising threat of neo-Nazi violence. The rampage, in which two people were shot dead, was streamed live.
Last June conservative politician Walter Luebcke, an advocate of a liberal refugee policy, was shot at his home.
On Friday police arrested 12 members of a German extreme right group believed to have been plotting "shocking" large-scale attacks on mosques similar to the ones carried out in New Zealand last year. (AFP)