Berlin – Christmas Market Attack

Berlin on Monday evening a terrorist launched Christmas Market Attack, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others, some seriously, in what Germany’s interior minister said..

Police stated on Twitter that one suspect had been taken into custody and that another passenger from the truck had died as it collided into people assembled around wooden huts serving mulled wine and sausages at the foot of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church in the heart of former West Berlin.

Updates

The nationality of the suspected driver is not clear so far, who fled the crash scene and was later arrested, police said.

The suspect, who was described by witnesses as “Eastern European” in look, was being interrogated by officers, the Reuters quoted police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf as saying late on Monday.

Security sources quoted by DPA news agency said that the man behind the steering wheel was an asylum seeker from Afghanistan or Pakistan who arrived in Germany in February this year.

The daily Tagesspiegel said the man was already known to police but for minor crimes, not links to terrorism.

Though, the German media had primarily claimed that the driver of the lorry was Chechen.

The lorry had a Polish License Plate

The lorry, which was laden with steel beams, came to a standstill on a pavement on one side of the market. It had just bumped a large stand called “Fascination Christmas,” tearing off one side and knocking down a large Christmas tree.

Police stated  the lorry, which had Polish number plates and belonged to Polish delivery company ARIEL Żurawski, made it as far as 80 meters (yards) into the Christmas market before it came to a halt.

The company said the vehicle had left Poland for Berlin earlier in the day but that contact with the driver was lost at around 3pm local time (2pm GMT) and the firm believed the lorry may have been hijacked.

The company’s transport manager, Lukasz Wasik, said the driver had been transporting Thyssen steel products from Italy to Berlin.

“The company where he was supposed to unload the products in Berlin was not able to receive them and told him to return on Tuesday morning. They told him to wait in Berlin somewhere,” Mr Wasik told AFP.

Berlin police said they suspected the truck was stolen from a construction site in Poland.

The deceased in the passenger seat was Polish

Berlin police have said that the men in the passenger seat is a Polish national.

Ariel Zurawski, the owner of the lorry, told Polish television his cousin, who is 37-year-old, had firstly been driving the truck, but he supposed it had been hijacked.

“I can say, hand on heart, that the man who drove into those people in the center of Berlin was not my driver,” Mr Zurawksi said. “This is my cousin. I’ve known him since birth. I have faith in him, this is not the man I know, they have done something to him.”

He said he believed the dead man found inside the cabin of the lorry was his cousin.

Twelve died

Police recognized the passenger found dead in the cab of the lorry as a Polish national, but did not disclose his name. The identities and nationalities of the other eleven victims are not yet identified. Privacy laws in Germany are very strict so names are unlikely to appear soon.

Berlin police have also said that 48 people were injured in the crash and taken to hospital, some were said to be serious but no further details were delivered.

Was this a terror attack?

Germany’s top security official said late on Monday that he was not prepared to call incident at Christmas market an “attack,” but adds that there are many signs pointing to the occurrence having been deliberate.

Officials were said to be examining the crash as a terrorist act, according to a German intelligence source, CNN reported on Monday night.

Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s Interior Minister, told ARD television: “I don’t want to use the expression ‘attack’ yet at the moment, although many of people speak for it.”

Mr De Maiziere added that “there is a psychological effect in the whole country of the choice of words here, and we want to be very, very thoughtful and function close to the actual investigation results, not with conjecture.”

For further details visit The Telegraph

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