BERLIN        -          Racism and hatred were “a poison” in the society, says Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday, condemning the Hanau mass shootings that left nine people dead and was carried out by a shooter with suspected far-right beliefs.

Consequent to an hours-long manhunt after the mass shootings at a shisha bar and the “Arena Bar & Cafe” in Hanau, the suspect — identified as 43-year-old German Tobias R. — was found dead at his home. The body of his 72-year-old mother was also recovered from the flat in what appeared to be a murder-suicide.

Federal counter-terror prosecutors investigating the case said they saw “a xenophobic motive” behind the shootings, the latest deadly attack blamed on the far right in Germany. “Racism is a poison, hatred is a poison and this poison exists in our society and it is already to blame for far too many crimes,” Merkel said in Berlin.

The suspect left behind online a “manifesto” and video material that suggested a terror attack motivated by “a hostile attitude to foreigners”, said Peter Beuth, the interior minister of the state of Hesse. Among the dead were “several victims of Kurdish origin”, the Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said in a statement, adding that it was “furious” that authorities weren’t doing more to combat rising extremism.

The rampage started at around 10PM (2100 GMT) on Wednesday at a shisha bar in the Heumarkt area of central Hanau, a city some 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Frankfurt.

The assailant reportedly rang the doorbell and shot at people in the smoking section, mass-market daily Bild said. He then fled the scene by car before opening fire at the cafe, with witnesses reporting hearing a dozen shots. A total of nine people were killed, police said. Several others were injured, including one who is in serious condition.

The bloodshed plunged Germany into mourning and rallies are scheduled in Berlin, Hanau, and other cities on Thursday to honour the victims.