Last updated 8.30am, 24th July, 2016

At least nine people have died after a lone gunman opened fire in a shopping centre in the southern German city of Munich.

Authorities said the 18-year-old gunman, a German-Iranian dual national who was later found dead about a kilometre away after apparently taking his life, is believed to have acted alone. They had earlier suspected up to three people were involved.

Some 27 more people were wounded, at least 10 critically, in the attack at the Olympia Shopping Centre, known as the OEZ, which reportedly took place at about 6pm Friday night (local time).

Police have said the gunman was obsessed with mass killings - including that committed by Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011 - but had no apparent links to the so-called Islamic State group.

The attack was the third major act of violence against people in Western Europe in eight days.

Rev Dr Olav Fyske Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, said the shootings were an "attack on human life, human dignity and the human rights of all".

“We are again shocked and saddened by this latest act of brutal violence. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their relatives and friends."

Describing the attack as "particularly shocking" given the apparent "clear intention deliberately to target young people who were simply enjoying themselves in town Friday evening", Rev Dr Tveit said he was convinced "European civilization and culture will endure and flourish despite such extremist attacks".

"As churches, we have a shared responsibility to work for a culture of non-violence in all societies.”