German police suspect hostage has been taken in Cologne

A file photo of Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof main railway station. (AFP pic)

DUESSELDORF: A woman has probably been taken hostage in the western German city of Cologne, police said on Monday, urging people to stay away from the area around the city’s main train station.

“We assume that a hostage has been taken, either at McDonald’s or at a nearby pharmacy,” a police spokeswoman said, adding: “A woman is probably being held but we don’t have any further details.”

German magazine Focus had earlier reported that several shots appeared to have been fired at Cologne’s main train station, which is next to the city’s landmark cathedral.

The police spokeswoman said police were unaware of any shots having been fired.

Police said on Twitter that they were on the scene and were clarifying what was happening.

Germany is on high alert for militant attacks, almost two years after a Tunisian Islamist rammed a hijacked truck into a Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 11 people as well as the driver