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Explosion injures 3 at gurdwara in western Germany

AP 17 Apr 2016, 11:52:13 IST

Berlin:German police say three people have been injured in an apparently deliberate explosion at a Sikh temple in the western city of Essen.

A spokesman for Essen police told The Associated Press that a masked person is reported to have fled the scene shortly after the blast at 7 p.m. Saturday (1700 GMT).

Spokesman Lars Lindemann said the explosion was "quite violent," blowing out several windows. One of the injured was said to be in a serious condition.

Lindemann says police are working on the assumption that the explosion was caused deliberately but that there are no indications it was a terrorist incident. He says the temple had hosted a wedding earlier in the day and those injured are believed to have been among the guests.

External Affairs Minitry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian Mission is following it up with the authorities.

"Distressed to hear of an explosion in a Gurdwara in Essen in Germany. Our Mission is following up with local authorities on ground situation," he tweeted.

A 60-year-old suffered serious injuries and had to be hospitalised while two 47- and 56-year-old men had minor injuries, the Bild newspaper reported but did not specify if all of them were Sikhs.

The injured included a priest on whom the whole pane of glass had fallen due to the impact.

A police spokesman said that the explosion was probably caused deliberately.

A masked man wearing dark clothes fled in an SUV, according to several witnesses from the scene.

A part of the wedding party was still in the building, the other part in the adjacent ballroom. The explosion was so violent that windowpanes of adjacent buildings were broken. The building was heavily damaged, the report said.

Three men were arrested following the explosion and are being suspected to have been in the black SUV, which had previously been seen in the vicinity of the crime scene.