Driver rams German party headquarters in apparent suicide bid

Police officers inspecting the damage in the lobby of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) headquarters after a man drove his car into the building, on Dec 25, 2017.
Police officers inspecting the damage in the lobby of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) headquarters after a man drove his car into the building, on Dec 25, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (REUTERS, AFP) - A man drove a car at the entrance of the Berlin headquarters of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) late on Sunday evening (Dec 24), lightly injuring himself in what police said was an apparent suicide attempt.

Police said the car, which crashed through the first set of glass doors of Willy Brandt House, the SPD's headquarters, was laden with petrol canisters and gas cartridges. The building's sprinkler system extinguished the resulting blaze.

Authorities did not identify the man, saying only that he was 58 years old. It was unclear why he had chosen the SPD, which is about to start negotiations on governing for another four years in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, as his target.

He had also laid out a bag with inflammable material in front of another building - the headquarters of the CDU party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The police were alerted by the building's caretaker, who found the bag. Berlin police are investigating the incident.

The man was taken to hospital for treatment for superficial injuries. Nobody else was hurt. Police and state security services were investigating further.