Eight people have been killed in shootings in and outside two hookah lounges in a southwestern German city – as authorities continue to search for those responsible.

Police said that at least five others were wounded in the two attacks in Hanau on Wednesday.

A dark vehicle was spotted leaving the location of the first attack about 10pm, and another shooting was reported at a second site.

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A police officer guards the road in front of a house that is searched through by police in Hanau (Michael Probst/AP)

Police officers swarmed the centre of the city, 12 miles east of Frankfurt, and cordoned off the area of one of the shootings as a helicopter hovered overhead.

A car covered in thermal foil also could be seen with shattered glass next to it, while forensic experts in white overalls collected evidence.

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Forensics enter a building at the scene after a shooting in central Hanau (Andreas Arnold/dpa/AP)

A short police statement gave no information on the identity or nationality of the victims and said a motive was not immediately known.

“This was a terrible evening that will certainly occupy us for a long, long time and we will remember with sadness,” Hanau Mayor Claus Kaminsky told the Bild newspaper.

Katja Leikert, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right party who represents Hanau in the German parliament, tweeted that it was “a real horror scenario for us all”.