Berlin Christmas market attack: Truck deliberately steered into crowd, killing 12, police say

Investigators assume the driver of a truck that ploughed into a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others, did so intentionally in a suspected terrorist attack, Berlin police say.

The truck crashed into people gathered around wooden huts serving mulled wine and sausages at the foot of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, which was left as a ruin after World War II, in the heart of former West Berlin on Monday evening.

“Our investigators assume that the truck was deliberately steered into the crowd at the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz,” police said on Twitter.

“All police measures related to the suspected terrorist attack at Breitscheidplatz are progressing at full steam and with the necessary diligence.”

The incident evoked memories of an attack in Nice, France in July, killing 86.

That attack was claimed by Islamic State.

Police said the man found dead in the truck was a Polish citizen, but added he was not in control of the vehicle.

The driver of the truck was an Afghan or Pakistani asylum seeker and had entered Germany in February as a refugee, according to security sources cited by DPA news agency.

Local broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg cited security sources as saying the arrested truck driver came to Germany via Passau, a city on the Austrian border, on December 31, 2015.

It cited the sources as saying the man was born on January 1, 1993 in Pakistan and was already known to police for minor offences.

If that is confirmed, it could further worsen sentiment towards migrants in Germany, where more than a million people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere have arrived this year and last.


The record influx has hit popularity ratings and boosted support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Senior AfD member Marcus Pretzell blamed Merkel for the attack on Twitter.

Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said on ORF radio on Tuesday that he had told the heads of Austria’s regional police forces to intensify surveillance measures, although there was no concrete evidence that an incident was about to happen.

Mr Sobotka also called for biometric and fingerprint checks to be introduced along the Balkan route to better control foreign jihadist fighters’ movements.

Berlin police are investigating leads that the truck had been stolen from a construction site in Poland and have taken the truck for a forensic examination.

Australian witness describes terrifying scene

Australian woman Trisha O’Neill witness the carnage first-hand.

“I could hear screaming and then we all froze. Then suddenly people started to move and lift all the wreckage off people, trying to help whoever was there.

“Eventually we had to and there was blood and bodies everywhere.

“People, including children and older people, weren’t moving — people were crying and I just burst into tears.”


This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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