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Nationalist or terrorist? Contradictory accounts tackle Munich attack motives

As a shooting rampage keeps Munich on edge, the German city is trying to make sense of who could be behind the attacks and what their motives were. Differing witness accounts point to either Islamists or nationalists, while still too soon for conclusions.

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No group has claimed responsibility for the deaths of at least 9 people in Munich on Friday afternoon.

Hours after the attack, police said the body of the possible attacker, who committed suicide after the shooting, had been found.

Local law enforcement suggested that he could have been acting alone. Earlier, police said they were looking for up to three suspects.

Little is known about who the gunman was and what motivated him to open fire in a McDonald’s restaurant, outside a shopping center in broad daylight.

"The motives for this abhorrent act have not yet been completely clarified – we still have contradictory clues," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

The first witness accounts lead to conflicting indications of who possible attackers might be.

A woman named Loretta told CNN that she was in the McDonald's when a man with a gun came out of a bathroom and began shooting.

“I come out of the toilet and I hear like an alarm, boom, boom, boom. He’s killing the children. The children were sitting to eat. They can’t run,” she recalled.

Loretta claimed that she heard the shooters yelling “Allahu Akbar!”, a Muslim call to praise god, also shouted by Islamists during deadly attacks.

At the same time, a video that appeared online show a man shouting “I’m German, f*** foreigners” as he walks across the roof of the shopping mall’s car parking.

According to locals, the shopping mall is located near the Hasenbergl district, an area densely-populated with immigrants.

Munich Police have said that while they are treating the shooting as a terrorist act, they do not see links to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

"We cannot rule out that it is linked to terrorism but we can't confirm it either, but we are also investigating in this direction," Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff Peter Altmaier said.

Jumping to conclusions about who to blame for the attack might result in the creation of more enemies instead,warned Jack Rice, a former CIA officer and international lawyer.

Intelligence communities “would go incredibly aggressively ... [and] can create more enemies,” he told RT.

“It’s important that you target the people who are involved and don’t go after people who may not be your enemy, but you can motivate them to become that and that’s the last thing the security needs to do in Germany right now”.

The perpetrator could have been either a Neo-Nazi or an Islamist, journalist, political analyst Hafsa Kara-Mustapha told RT.

Given the fact that Friday was the fifth anniversary of the attack in Oslo carried out by far-right fanatic Anders Breivik “everything seems to point to a Neo-Nazi attack,” she said. However “in light of what happened in Nice last week and then a few days later the attack on a train in Germany I think that unless we have a formal confirmation that there is a Nazi there is also a possibility that this could be an ISIS-related attack. And I think for everyone involved their first reaction is really to assume that it’s ISIS”.