Seven dead after police pursue suspected human smuggler on German motorway

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At least seven people were killed and more than a dozen others injured when a suspected human smuggler lost control of a van carrying migrants in southern Germany, police said on Friday.

The accident occurred on the A94 motorway to the east of the Munich after the Mercedes Vito van started speeding up amid a police pursuit, police added.

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The van was carrying around 20 migrants, including children. Seven people died after the van overturned several times, while the remaining passengers sustained mild to severe injuries and were brought to nearby hospitals, police said.

The suspected human smuggler driving the van survived the accident, police said, adding that he was receiving medical care.

A police spokesperson said the nationalities of the suspect and the migrants had not been ascertained, and that there would be further updates throughout the day.

Last month, German authorities imposed new border controls with Poland and the Czech Republic.

Germany saw its first-time asylum requests rise by 78% in the first seven months of 2023, according to official data. In August, registered illegal border crossings to Germany reached 14,701, up 66% on the same month last year, police data show.

Tensions surrounding the influx are running high in Germany, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the opposition conservatives and regional representatives convening for an emergency meeting on the issue later on Friday.

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