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A combination of three undated pictures obtained from the Schaffhausen Police website shows a man linked they say to an attack in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen, Switzerland July 24, 2017. Courtesy Schaffhauser Polizei/Handout via REUTERS


By Arnd Wiegmann

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland (Reuters) - A chainsaw-wielding loner who mostly lived in the woods stormed into an insurance office in a Swiss town on Monday, wounding two members of staff and three other people before fleeing, police said.

Police put the centre of Schaffhausen into lockdown and launched a manhunt for the suspect they identified as 51-year-old Franz Wrousis. They said the assault was "not an act of terror", but also not random.

"This is not an attack against a hypothetical person. This is clearly against people from the insurer," police Major Ravi Landolt told a news conference, adding that the exact motive was still under investigation.

Swiss authorities distributed pictures of the suspect whom Chief Prosecutor Peter Sticher described as "aggressive, dangerous and mentally conspicuous".

They warned residents to avoid contact with the man, who they said had twice been convicted of weapons offences and was believed to be living in the wild since moving out of a home in the eastern Swiss canton of Grisons.

Two of the victims were seriously injured but their lives were not in danger.

Swiss health insurer CSS said two of its employees were injured when the man charged into their office on a shopping street in the centre of Schaffhausen, a mediaeval town of 36,000 people on Switzerland's northern border with Germany.

"They're currently in the hospital and being operated on," a spokeswoman said.

CSS did not yet have information on any possible link the suspect might have to the company, she said, and also did not know if the three others injured were customers or passersby.

Police said the other three victims had been in the same office building or in the immediate vicinity.

Police had recovered a vehicle sought in connection with the incident, which they said was apparently the work of the single suspect.

(Additonal reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich; editing by Michael Shields and Mark Heinrich)

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