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Man, 65, killed in elephant attack

A German man taking his regular morning stroll was killed by an elephant who had escaped from a nearby circus, police said today.

The 65-year-old was walking in the woods near Buchen, a town in south-west Germany, when the African elephant attacked him shortly after 5am local time, Heidelberg police spokeswoman Yvonne Schmierer said.

She declined to say what injuries the un-named man suffered.

The 34-year-old female elephant, called Baby, was captured and returned to the circus.

Police are now investigating whether someone let the elephant out of its secure enclosure and why the animal acted aggressively toward the man.

"There's evidence of third-party involvement," said Ms Schmierer. "Either someone forgot to shut the enclosure or the elephant was released intentionally."

German news agency dpa reported that the elephant had previously injured people.

It quoted a representative of the German branch of animal rights group Peta calling for authorities to take the elephant away from the circus.

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