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Three injured in explosion at Lidl’s German headquarters

Three people were hurt Wednesday in a blast at the German headquarters of discount supermarket Lidl, but police declined to confirm media reports of a letter bomb.

Three injured in explosion at Lidl's German headquarters
A criminal technician at the site of the explosion. Photo: DPA

The explosion occurred in an administrative building at the company's head offices in Neckarsulm, western Germany, shortly before 2 pm.

The three injured people were taken to hospital and around 100 employees were evacuated from the premises.

“Based on the current status of the investigation, a letter exploded inside the building,” police said in a statement.

The blast triggered a large emergency response with police, firefighters, several ambulances and a rescue helicopter racing to the scene.

Police officers combed through the building with sniffer dogs but no further suspicious items were found, the statement added.

“We are deeply upset about the incident and wish our colleagues a good and swift recovery,” Lidl said in a statement to German news agency DPA.

According to police, one person was “moderately wounded” in the blast while the two others suffered only light injuries.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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