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Police Hunt Gunmen who Killed Two in Swiss Cafe | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Police collect evidence at the site of a shooting in the city of Basel. (AFP Photo/Sebastien Bozon)

Swiss police were Friday hunting for two gunmen who opened fire inside a cafe in the city of Basel, leaving two people dead and seriously injuring a third.

No details were released on the suspects or victims, and prosecutors said the motive for the attack — in a small cafe in a residential neighborhood — was not known.

“Two men came into Cafe 56” around 8.15 pm local time “and fired several rounds,” said police in the picturesque city on the Rhine River in northwestern Switzerland.

“Two customers were killed. Another is in a critical condition,” they said in a statement.

The assailants escaped and headed in the direction of a city railway station after the attack.

“The reason behind the attack is not yet known and will be investigated,” the Basel prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

One neighbourhood resident said the cafe “was previously an establishment known for its links to the drug world.”

“But since the owner changed several years ago it became an ordinary cafe,” the resident told local newspaper Basler Zeitung.

The attack comes a day after the town concluded celebrations of Fasnacht, the largest carnival in Switzerland.

Gun crime is infrequent in Switzerland, even though the country has one of the highest rates of firearm ownership in the world.

Citizens are allowed to keep their army-issue weapons at home outside periods of mandatory military service. This right has been controversial as sometimes weapons are used at home in domestic incidents.

The number of weapons held at home is believed to be two million for a population of eight million, according to Swiss press.