Thousands of people in Germany have gathered at vigils held for the victims of a terror attack thought to have been motivated by far-right beliefs.

A German man shot dead 10 people in a series of attacks in central Hanau, near Frankfurt on Wednesday night.

The gunman attacked a shisha bar at around 10pm before travelling a mile and a half west and opening fire at another shisha bar.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the attack exposed the "poison" of racism in the country.

Turkish officials have said five of the victims were Turkish nationals, and Germany’s federal prosecutor said nine people killed were of foreign background.

The suspect has been named locally as Tobias Rathjen, who lived near to the scene of the shootings.

Witnesses and CCTV quickly led authorities to the suspect's home, near the scene of the second attack, where he was found dead along with his 72-year-old mother.

Both the suspect and his mother had gunshot wounds, and the weapon was found on the suspect.

At least five others were injured in the attacks.

A screengrab taken from a video posted by Tobias Rathjen, the man believed to be responsible for the attack. Credit: .

On Thursday night, thousands gathered at vigils held in Berlin and Hanau to remember the victims of the attacks.

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier addressed the crowd - some of whom were carrying anti-racism placards.

Flowers were laid at the scene of the attack and candles were lit for the victims.

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Authorities are now examining a webpage believed to belong to the suspect.

Local media report that the website is registered to Tobias R, with details on the page saying he was born in Hanau in 1977 and grew up in the city, later training with a bank and completing a business degree in 2007.

The suspect may have posted a video online several days earlier in which he talks about a conspiracy theory about child abuse in the US.

He also penned a 24-page manifesto which has since been removed from the internet.

Police stand guard near the scene of a shooting in central Hanau, Germany. Credit: AP

Peter Beuth, the interior minister for the state of Hesse, said: "Initial analysis of the webpage of the suspect indicate a xenophobic motivation.

"This is an attack on our free and peaceful society."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the government would use "all its might" to stand up to those who try to divide the country along ethnic lines.

Ms Merkel said the shootings exposed the "poison" of racism in Germany, and she pledged to stand up against those who seek to divide the country.

She added: "There is much to indicate that the perpetrator acted out of far-right extremist, racist motives.

"Out of hatred for people with other origins, other faiths or a different appearance."

Boris Johnson tweeted his condolences, tweeting: "My thoughts are with the people of Germany as they grieve those lost in the terrible attack in Hanau last night.

"The UK stands with our German friends against this racist assault on our values."

The incident is being treated as domestic terrorism and federal investigators have taken over the case.

A spokesman for Hanau prosecutors, Markus Jung, refused to comment on the reported video and said he believed the attacker acted alone.

"We don't believe there were further attackers," Jung told The Associated Press.

The scene of the shooting in front of a bar in Hanau, Germany. Credit: AP

Officers searched an apartment in Hanau’s Kesselstadt district, near the scene of one of the shootings, after following up witness statements on a getaway car.

"Thoughts this morning are with the people of Hanau, in whose midst this terrible crime was committed," German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Twitter.

"Deep sympathy for the affected families, who are grieving for their dead," the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. "We hope with those wounded that they will soon recover."

Thousands gathered to listen to German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier holding a vigil for the victims. Credit: AP

Police said a dark vehicle was seen leaving the location of the first attack and another shooting was reported at a scene about one and a half miles away.

Officers swarmed central Hanau, cordoning 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. Forensic experts in white overalls collected evidence.

'Hookah' or shisha lounges are places where people gather to smoke flavored tobacco from Middle Eastern water pipes.

Forensics experts examine a vehicle close to the scene of one of the shootings in Germany. Credit: AP

"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.

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

Hanau is about 12 miles east of Frankfurt. It has about 100,000 inhabitants and is in Hesse state.