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Wreckage was strewn by the tracks where the regional train derailed after colliding with freight wagons last night, collapsing compartments as it tipped on its side.
Police said they were investigating the cause of the accident, but that so far it was unclear what was to blame.
Saxony-Anhalt state premier Wolfgang Boehmer said a stoplight was probably missed by one of the trains, which crashed at around 10.30pm (Irish time) in fog and freezing temperatures.
Ambulance crews worked through the night to take victims to nearby hospitals in what was one of the country