German gunman 'kills hostages in Karlsruhe eviction'
The man, facing eviction for not paying his rent, had barricaded himself in his flat with the hostages.
After smelling smoke, police stormed the flat where they found the bodies. All five are said to have died of gunshot wounds.
As well as the gunman, a bailiff and a locksmith died, along with the flat-owner and a prospective tenant.
The hostage-taking began when officials arrived on Wednesday morning to evict a man from a block of flats in northern Karlsruhe.
At about 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT), several shots rang out and police were called.
An area around the block was sealed off and hundreds of police officers were deployed. A school and a kindergarten nearby were evacuated.
The BBC's Stephen Evans in Berlin says it is unclear whether or not police had made contact with the hostage-taker.
"Special forces broke into the apartment after smelling smoke," a police spokesman told Reuters news agency.
German media said that initially four bodies, including the gunman, were discovered. It then emerged a woman's body had also been found.
Police believed the gunman was a hunter who possessed several weapons.
A witness told Die Welt website that the man had also been armed with a hand grenade, although police were unable to confirm the remark.
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