German police suppose Christmas market massacre was terror

Christmas marketRescuers and police investigators inspect a truck that ploughed through a crowd of a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016 REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

The truck was  deliberately driven into the crowd in Berlin at high speed, police believes. Twelve people were killed at the Christmas market.

– Our investigators assume that the truck was driven into the crowd at the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz deliberately, the police wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Police is considering it for the first time to be a suspected terrorist attack.
– All the measures police have at their disposition are being adopted. We are working as fast as we can and take into appropriate consideration what we assume is a terrorist attack, they said further.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has previously refused to describe the incident as a terrorist attack, but stated that “much pointed in that direction.”

It is expected that he will come with an official update about the attack during the next few hours.

Pakistani asylum seeker

A suspected perpetrator was arrested by German police about two kilometers away from the scene, at the Victory Column.

The police has not said anything officially about the perpetrator’s identity, but the broadcaster RBB reports that the arrested man came to Germany from Pakistan in December 2015. A security source has told DPA that the arrested person was registered as an asylum seeker. He is now under interrogation.

The German newspaper Tagesspiegel writes that the suspect was known to the police for minor offenses, but not for terrorist activities.

Currently it is not confirmed whether the arrested man was the truck driver, or which identity he has got. The motive behind the attack is also unknown.

Hijacked

A man was found dead in the passenger seat. The truck was owned by a Polish transport company, and the dead man was identified as a Polish citizen.

German police have stated that he was behind the wheel when the truck ran into the crowd at the Christmas market in Berlin at 20 o’clock  on Monday.

Company owner Ariel Zurawski, has told the Polish television channel TVN 24 that the truck earlier in the day had been driven by his cousin, who had delivered steel to Berlin, and it had not been possible to obtain contact with him since 16 o’clock on Monday.

Police later said they had worked on the assumption that the truck   was stolen from a construction site in Poland or somewhere on the road to Germany from there.

Carnage

Many ambulances and heavily armed police crowded the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz after the truck plowed through the crowd. Thus it resembled the attack in Nice on the French national day this summer.

– He would not stop. He just continued to drive, said a tourist.
The truck drove between 50 and 80 meters into the market before it stopped. Several witnesses tell of devastation at the site.

– There was blood and bodies everywhere, says Australian Trisha O’Neill. NTB reporter Hege Pauline Hovig said that the mood of the place was gloomy after the attack, which occurred by the Kaiser Wilhelm Church.

 

NTB scanpix / Norway Today

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