A large truck has stormed through a Christmas market in the German capital of Berlin killing 12 people and injuring many others. A 23-year-old recent migrant has been released after police concluded he was not a suspect, and officers are now hunting a Tunisian immigrant.
UPDATE 14.30 GMT — Statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel
I express my gratitude to the Italian authorities and police, and for our close collaboration. I wish the police officer who was injured in the shooting a speedy recovery.
Security officers work together across borders and terrorism is a challenge for all of us. It is good to know that we are very determined in Europe and beyond to fight it. The grief and sympathy for those killed injured goes far beyond Germany.
The investigation is not yet over. In Berlin, the intelligence bureau will be investigating. I know we will not rest until we know who had possibly helped [Anis Amri]. We will take on Islamist terrorism.
We will adjust our safety and security policies to reflect those challenges but for now there are questions like how Amri reached Germany. Therefore, I ask Thomas de Maizière, the German interior minister, to collaborate with the federal states in Germany and the security agencies to analyse every detail and to provide results as soon as possible. Then, political and legal adjustments will be made.
Furthermore, I spoke to my colleague in Tunisia, and Tunisia and Germany have intensified the collaboration against terrorism.
Those who have no right to reside in Germany will face consequences. We will accelerate measures to remove those who are not allowed to reside in Germany.
It is the responsibility of the German government to maintain the safety of citizens and we will do our utmost to make sure the state of security in our country.
We will work towards this intensively and you can rely on this.
Our values will be stronger than the hate values of terrorism.
UPDATE 14.23 GMT — Footage has emerged of the Berlin terror attacker calling on Islamic State supporters to take revenge on”crusaders” and declaring his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) December 23, 2016
UPDATE 13.55 GMT — Attacker yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ in final gunfight
The Berlin attacker shouted Allahu Akhar as he opened fire on a polceiman in the Italian sity of Milan.
He was shot and killed in the gunfire exchange.
UPDATE 13.40 — Video footage of the truck has emerged:
UPDATE 13.35 GMT — Statement from German Interior Minister:
I have been on the telephone with my Italian colleague and he personally confirmed that [the man shot in Milan] was the terror suspect of the Christmas market attack in Berlin, Anis Amri.
Amri, who escaped, encountered a police control point at 3am. He started to fire his weapon and he was then shot by Italian police. Italian authorities already made fingerprint checks and confirmed the identification of the subject. I have expressed my gratitude to my colleague in Italy, and congratulated him on the success of Italian authorities and police. I also expressed that the police officers were very professional and very brave.
A special team will be sent to Italy to collaborate with Italian authorities in an investigation. I thank them for their very close cooperation.
This manhunt which ended a success of course does not mean an end because we still have to investigate further. Unfortunately, the terror threat in Germany has not changed. It is still at ‘high risk’, and the security agencies are working close together.
I would like to point out my deportation proposals and would like to make more proposals for safety and security.
My thoughts are with those family members of the victims and those in the hospital. For them, today’s success cannot replace their loss.Our thoughts are with them.
UPDATE 10.25 GMT — Italian interior minister confirms suspect killed:
Last night at 3am in Milan during the usual routine control activities, a state police squad stopped someone who appeared to be a suspect. At the moment when he was stopped, the man without hesitating took out a pistol from his rucksack and shot the police officer that asked him for identification.
The other officer immediately responded. The person that attacked our patrol was killed. After a number of enquiries it has been determined without a shadow of a doubt that he is Anis Amri, the presumed suspect of a terrorist attack in Berlin.
The police officer who was shot is Christian Morio. Morio was hurt and is in hospital. He is recovering and is not in intensive care.
Allow me to thank all the security teams in our country. Italy must be really proud of them.
I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart. This was done in an atmosphere of cooperation and we were able to ensure a high level of security across the country. The fact that we were able to identify this person and neutralise him really means there is a system that is capable of functioning.
The operation is not finished. There are inquiries and we are working hand in hand with the legal system. We will not go into details because for obvious reasons this could lead to other developments. We are in communication with the German authorities.
These two officers were very young and rendered an extraordinary service to their community. I feel I can say to these two young officers that Italy is grateful to them.
UPDATE 9.44 GMT — Italy’AMSA Newswire reports:
The Berlin attacker Anis Amri is believed to have been shot dead in Milan, during a shootout with police at around 3am. According to preliminary information the man was stopped during a routine road check in Piazza I Maggio in Sesto San Giovanni. The suspect pulled out a gun and shot the agents who responded to the gunfire killing him.
According to police, the road block, in front of Sesto San Giovanni station, was put in place as part of normal traffic control. The man, who was on foot, was asked to show identificationallegedly pulled out a gun from his backpack, and he shot a policeman, hitting him in the shoulder. At that point, the agents returned fire, shooting the man, who has now died. The man, who had no documents with him, has not yet been identified and investigations into his identity is ongoing
UPDATE 9.30 GMT — Reuters claims Berlin suspect shot dead
BREAKING Berlin market attack suspect shot dead in shootout in Milan, Italy: security source
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) December 23, 2016
UPDATE 9.15 GMT — Danish police say a man matching the description of Berlin attacker has been seen in Aalborg, Denmark. North Jutland police said that a male aged between 20 and 30 years old wearing a black knitted hat, glasses, and a black beard that was unshaven was seen in the Eternitten area of Aalborg. Police action is underway. People have been advised to stay away from the area.
UPDATE 9.10 GMT — Two people have been arrested in connection with the attack. AFP reports:
German authorities have arrested two brothers on suspicion of planning an attack on a shopping centre in the western city of Oberhausen, police said Friday.
The two men were aged 28 and 31 and originally from Kosovo, police said, with the country on edge after a jihadist drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin killing 12 people.
UPDATE 16:30 EST — Newly released dashcam footage shows the moment of the terror attack as the truck speeds into the crowded Christmas market.
UPDATE 17:30 — Berlin police storm mosque
Police stormed a mosque in Berlin’s migrant-heavy Moabit neighbourhood this afternoon. According to local media reports officers used stun grenades and door breaching charges to access the building while searching for the suspected killer. The mosque is a known centre for Islamists and had already been raided by police before in 2015, reports Welt.
UPDATE 15:30 — Merkel speaks at the Federal Criminal Police Office
Speaking besides her interior minister and the mayor of Berlin at the headquaters of Germany’s FBI equivalent the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), German Chancellor Merkel thanked the “professional” work of the police in hunting the Tunisian migrant suspect and said the situation in Germany had changed with the attack.
“Theoretically we have known for a long time that we are a target of Islamist radicals. Obviously when such an event takes place at Breitscheidplatz the situation obviously changes. Our thought are with the relatives of the victims and those that are injured and in hospital. We owe you the best possible work”.
“Obviously we have the values of democracy on our side so I am trusting in the fact that we will be able to maintain our way of life of living together openly and freely. Over the last days I have been very proud of how reflective the people have been and how circumspect the people have been. I wish everyone here the best of success. Our thoughts are with you”.
Besides the platitudes and remarks on German society, the three senior statesmen at the press conference had nothing to say, other than the fact the fingerprints of the wanted man Anis Amri had been found on the truck. The lack of new information may be taken as an indication of the amount of progress the investigation has had so far, after the suspected killer was accidentally given a days head-start by German police who arrested the wrong man.
UPDATE 12:30 — Criminal past of suspected killer
More details about the suspected Berlin Christmas market killer, including his arrest for arson after burning down a school and migrant camp in Italy, his connections with radical Salafists in Germany, and place on the United State’s so-called ‘no-fly’ list. Read more on the European tour of Anis Amri at Breitbart London.
UPDATE 10:15 — Berlin Christmas Market Reopens
Three days after the attack, the Berlin Christmas market where 12 were killed will reopen today. The festive huts and street sellers will this time be accompanied by hundreds of tons of reinforced cast concrete barriers, unloaded at key points around the market by to harden it against unwanted vehicle incursions.
As reported by Breitbart London, these anti-vehicle devices as commonly deployed outside government buildings in the West and military bases in places like Afghanistan and Iraq were deployed to many British Christmas markets weeks ago following intelligence of planned attacks.
Pictures: Concrete barriers deployed by volunteers of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief, part of the Civil Defence establishment.
UPDATE 10:00 — German police deny arrests
After Germany’s Bild published images of arrests taking place in Dortmund, the Federeal Prosecutor has now denied any such thing taking place, reports Welt. Speaking to press, a spokesman said “No, that is not so… we are not aware of any arrest”. The prosecutor would not provide any information on what happened in Dortmund.
UPDATE 09:30 GMT THURSDAY — Arrests and raids across Germany
On the third day after the Berlin attacks that took the lives of 12, German police have raided migrants homes in Emmerich and Dortmund. News sources including Germany’s Bild reports four individuals were arrested and taken into custody during the raid, and that these detainees are contacts of the wanted Tunisian Anis Amri.
Breitbart London reported in August on a large number of arrests as part of a major crackdown on radical Islamists in Germany. One of those arrested was Dortmund based Serbian Islam convert who was regarded by law enforcement as “highly conspirative”, and distributed Islamic State propaganda. He has now been reported to be an associate of suspected killer Anis Amri.
UPDATE 15:20 GMT — Suspected killer wasn’t deported because he had no papers
Ralf Jäger, the controversial left-wing home affairs minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has spoken in a press conference this afternoon on the background of suspected killer Anis A, who lived at least part of the time in the state.
When asked by a journalist why the Tunisian migrant hadn’t been deported despite having failed in his application for asylum, the politician responded: “the man could not be deported because he had no valid identity papers”. This refers to a common paradox in German immigration policy, where asylum seekers have their claims rejected for not being from a sufficiently dangerous country but can’t be returned because they have lost or destroyed their legitimate identity papers en-route to Europe.
Without these papers, their countries of origin refuse to take the failed asylum seekers back as it can’t be proven the individuals did come from that country in the first place. In this common situation, migrants are then issued with papers of tolerance, which signify the fact their claims have failed but while they have nowhere else to go they are permitted to remain in Germany.
Ralf Jäger gained international prominence earlier this year during the aftermath of the Cologne sexual assaults, which happened on his watch as home affairs minister for the state. Minister Jäger managed to hang on to his own position after firing his chief of police to boost public confidence in the force. It later transpired that the police chief had appealed to Minister Jäger for reinforcements on the night of the mass sex assaults but was turned down.
UPDATE 14:45 GMT — Germany to introduce ankle-tags for Islamists in wake of Berlin attack
Interior Minister Heiko Maas has said the German government is considering expanding rules surrounding ankle-tag tracking devices following reports the suspected killer in the Berlin attack was a known extremist who avoided criminal proceedings for violence this Summer by absconding.
Under the proposed new rules extremists could be tracked in this way. Presently, ankle bracelets are only permissible for individuals under suspicion if they have already served a three year term for violence or sexual assault, reports Welt.
UPDATE 14:00 GMT — Police investigating tweets blaming Merkel for terror killing
Breitbart London reported yesterday on the remarks of senior Alternative for Germany (AfD) member Marcus Pretzell, who Tweeted: “When will the German state of law strike back? When will this cursed hypocrisy finally stop? These are Merkel’s dead!”. Mr. Pretzel’s AfD is Germany’s most vocal anti-mass migration party, and has previously warned opening the nation’s borders would make it vulnerable to terror attack.
Now Welt reports Munich police are investigating the tweet for potentially criminal comments:
Danke für den Hinweis, wir werden den Tweet strafrechtlich prüfen lassen. Viele Grüße vom Social Media Team der Polizei München
— Polizei München (@PolizeiMuenchen) December 20, 2016
Yet the politician has responded light-heatedly to the complaints that let to the investigation, remarking “Offending our leader? Because they are Merkel’s Dead? The [Social Media] team of the Munich police are ensuring our security! Thank you!”.
Majestätsbeleidigung? Weil es Merkels Tote sind? Das SM-Team der Polizei München sorgt jetzt für Sicherheit! Danke! https://t.co/DCaiSebqVz
— Marcus Pretzell (@MarcusPretzell) December 21, 2016
UPDATE 11:45 GMT — Police release suspect mugshot
Although he had an 18-hour head start after German police accidentally arrested the wrong suspect, officers have now released more details on the suspect identified as ‘Anis A’. Known to go by at least four aliases the man is known to be dangerous, and has links to a known extremist Islamist network. He was investigated by police during the summer over a case of greivous bodily harm but was never prosecuted as he absconded.
Anis A applied for asylum in April 2015, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung, and although he was not successful the Tunisian migrant received papers confirming his tolerated foreigner status. Traces of his DNA have been found in the cab of the truck that was used to kill 12 on Monday evening.
UPDATE 10:30 GMT WEDNESDAY — POLICE HUNTING TUNISIAN SUSPECT
German police are now seeking a new suspect after releasing the 23-year-old Pakistani male last night. According to information received by Germany’s Spiegel, investigators found an identity document for a 24-year-old Tunisian immigrant named as Anis A. tucked under the driver’s seat in the cab of the lorry.
The paper reports the migrant is known to use aliases including Ahmed A. The document is a certificate of tolerance — a paper issued by the German government to recognise a temporary right to remain for failed asylum seekers who don’t have otherwise legitimate travel documents — and was processed in North Rhine-Westphalia.
There will be another press conference in Berlin at lunchtime today.
UPDATE 14:59 EST — The Pakistani asylum seeker has been freed from custody and police say he is no longer a suspect in the attack. According to the Islamic State media arm Amaq Agency the attacker was a member of the terror group. The claim of responsibility is the first time the group has made such a claim while the attacker involved was still alive.
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) December 20, 2016
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) December 20, 2016
UPDATE 17:10 GMT — Night falls in Berlin
As promised earlier in the day, the Brandenburg Gate — a rare survivor of 19th century Berlin — has been illuminated in the black-red-gold tricolour of the 1919 Bundesflagge in memory of those who were killed last night.
This morning Berlin mayor Michael Müller said at a press conference: “The gate has been lit in the colours of places affected by terrorism in the past, but today it will be lit in our own colours”.
— Pippi🙌 Generación X (@pippyGermania) December 20, 2016
UPDATE 17:00 GMT — Details on the deceased Polish driver of the semi-truck
After the 40-ton Scania truck came to a stop on the Budapest road having just crashed through the Christmas market, officers found the body of its Polish operator and his blood-stained clothes. Officers said he had been shot with a small-calibre weapon.
Identified as 37-year-old Luke U., the driver had been transporting a a shipment of metal beams from Italy to Berlin for delivery on Monday.
The director of the freight shipping company and cousin to Luke U. Ariel Zurawski, has spoken to journalists remarking that he last had contact with his relative on Monday afternoon to tell him unloading of his cargo had been suspended until Tuesday, and that he would have to stay with his truck in Berlin overnight.
A GPS tracker on the vehicle showed Luke U then parked the truck near the company which was to receive the steel on Tuesday.
Company manager Ariel Zurawski said that during the conversation with his cousin he remarked the district he had parked in was “full of Muslims” and the only Germans to be found were in the company office, reports Spiegel. Mr Zurawski said he was “not happy” that he had to stay in Berlin longer than necessary — the driver had hoped to return to Poland on Monday rather than Tuesday.
The last information he got from the driver was that he was leaving his vehicle to get something to eat. At around 5pm, neither Luke U.’s wife nor Mr. Zurawski could not get in touch with him. He remarked: “I knew that something had to be wrong, because he always took calls. He was my cousin. I can vouch for it because he was a decent man, husband, father of a child”.
Spiegel reports that according to the truck’s GPS data, someone had started the vehicle on Monday three times – even though it should have remained stationary until unloading on Tuesday. “It’s as if someone had practiced driving it,” Senior Shipping Officer Lkasz Wasik said.
UPDATE 15:15 GMT — Europe reacts — Christmas under siege
Heavily armed police and soldiers are a common sight at Christmas markets across Europe today. Breitbart London has a review of these security changes and pictures — read more here.
UPDATE 14:45 GMT — “These are Merkel’s dead!”
Critics of Angela Merkel’s pro-mass migration policies have been speaking up today, with a senior member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party remarking: “When will the German state of law strike back? When will this cursed hypocrisy finally stop? These are Merkel’s dead!”. Read more at Breitbart London.
UPDATE 14:10 GMT — The head of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office Holger Munch, who just last month reassured Germans that the government had no “concrete evidence” of a terror attack being planned, speaking at a press conference responded to a press question over whether there might be another armed perpetrator on the loose in Berlin or elsewhere. He said: “Currently we have one suspect but we’re not sure if he is the perpetrator and we don’t know whether here is the only one.
“We have not found the weapon and that leads us to be in a high state of alert. Obviously our investigations are ongoing into various directions, to discover if there are other perpetrators and if so to arrest them”.
UPDATE 14:00 GMT — German state prosecutor speaks, clarifying wrong suspect situation
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday lunchtime, Germany’s chief Federal prosecutor Peter Frank has shone some light on rumours and unconfirmed press reports that police had accidentally arrested the wrong man — the 23 year old Pakistani citizen presently held in custody denies involvement.
Although he did not say the arrested man was the wrong suspect, the prosecutor remarked: “We don’t have anybody claiming responsibility so we are not 100% sure over the background at this stage.
“Investigations are ongoing, and we are coopering with the Federal Investigation Bureau [BKA] and Berlin, we are carrying out investigations, looking at the lorry, gathering witness statements, and analysing them. We are looking at video footage from the scene and the street the lorry came down, and we are carrying out an investigation into the Polish lorry driver
“We don’t know 100-per-cent if there was one perpetrator or several, and we don’t know if they have been supported. We might have to get used to the idea that the person, a citizen of Pakistan detained last night… perhaps he might not be the perpetrator, or part of the group of perpetrators”.
“When we get more relevant information, we will bring the public up to date”.
So far, all six of the identified victims of the attack are German citizens.
UPDATE 13:00 GMT — Claims that German police aren’t sure they arrested the right suspect
German media sources reported this morning police had arrested a 23-year-old Pakistani male and were treating him as their prime suspect. Now Germany’s Welt reports there is some doubt they have the right man, citing unnamed “high ranking security” sources.
This source told the paper: “We have the wrong man… the real culprit is still armed and at large, and can cause more damage”.
Despite the alarming claim, which was made as Berlin’s chief of police and other senior law-enforcement officials sat in a press conference at lunchtime today, the chief made no mention of these concerns. He remarked: “Investigation are still ongoing. We are comparing the DNA of the possible culprit to samples taken from the driver’s cab, but that isn’t finished yet… we are still searching the lorry for clues we can use”.
UPDATE 12:45 GMT — Berlin leaders speak at Mayor’s press conference — “could have been a drunk driver”
Speaking at a press conference hosted by Michael Müller, Berlin’s socialist-left mayor, the city chief of police Klaus Kandt refused to answer questions from assembled press about Islamic terror, remarking: “We have to keep a complete open mind, it could have been a drunk driver crashing”.
His remarks contradict those of German interior minister Thomas de Maizière, who just minutes before the Berlin press conference began told reporters there was “no doubt” it was an attack, rather than an accident, reports Zeit.
Sitting beside the police officer at the press conference, Berlin mayor Müller remarked: “and yet again we have an attack on our freedom… [by] enemies of our freedom. He said the Brandunburg gate would be a centre for mourning tonight, reflecting: “The gate has been lit in the colours of places affected by terrorism in the past, but today it will be lit in our own colours”.
Emphasisng the importance of multicultural Berlin, the mayor said: “it wouldn’t be Berlin without people of all nations living together, and this is especially important [at this time]”. Berlin’s flags are to fly at half mast today.
UPDATE 11:30 GMT — Following intelligence that European Christmas markets were being targeted by would-be Islamist killers, British police forces deployed concrete barriers to prevent the ingress of speeding vehicles and patrolled armed officers. Anti-gun activists on Twitter criticised the move, prompting at least one force to defend the move. Read more on Breitbart London.
UPDATE 10:45 GMT — The dead individual found inside the cab of the truck used to commit this attack has been identified as its Polish operator, suggesting it was possibly hijacked by the killer. Berliner Morgenpost reports this morning the owner of the freight shipping company which managed the lorry, and who was cousin to the deceased man, had identified him this morning for Police.
The dead Polish driver is survived by his wife and a 17-year-old son.
UPDATE 10:15 GMT — German Chancellor Merkel has spoken in a statement. Thanking the emergency services for their work since last night in responding to and investigating the event, she said:
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very difficult day… twelve people who were looking forward to Christmas and had plans for the festive season are no longer among us. This is a terrible deed that one cannot understand… many people who are injured are fighting for their lives.
“We don’t know anything for certain but we must assume it was a terrorist attack. It would be very difficult for us to learn that the person who committed this deed came to Germany to ask for refuge and asylum”.
Merkel made special mention of the many thousands of migrant helpers in Germany, the volunteers who give their time in migrant centres and have campaigned to keep the nation’s borders open to newcomers. Addressing the shock that the killer was likely one of their own wards, the Chancellor said:
“It would be terrible for all the Germans who are very active every day helping asylum and refugees. It would be repugnant for them, those who help those who have come to this country to ask for our help”.
“Millions of people are asking themselves how can we celebrate a festival of life when someone has come along and taken so many lives. We cannot live with it, and do these things without the Christmas markets, without spending a pleasant time outside with our friends and families… we do not want to be paralysed by terror.
“Although it may be difficult now, we will find the strength to continue living life as we wish to in Germany, in freedom, openness, and together”.
UPDATE 09:00 GMT TUESDAY — The suspected killer has now been named in German media as 23-year-old Naved B., a Pakistani origin migrant who arrived in Germany in 2015. Broadsheet Welt reports German security services raided a hangar at Berlin Templehof last night — the 1930’s former city airport which has now been transformed into the city’s biggest migrant camp.
Although Berlin police have been reluctant to make statements to this point, the paper now reports they are speaking of a terror attack and the security service was aware of the possibility for an Islamist attack against a Christmas market. While it is reported the suspected killer was known to police for minor criminal offences, he was not on a terror watchlist.
UPDATE 21:22 EST — According to the latest AP report, 12 people are dead and nearly 50 injured from the truck smashing into the victims at a Christmas market in Germany. Police said a suspect believed to be the driver was arrested nearby and a passenger died as paramedics were treating him.
UPDATE 19:15 EST — President-elect Donald Trump condemned the attack in a statement from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida:
“Our hearts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims of today’s horrifying terror attack in Berlin. Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.”
UPDATE 19:00 EST — The White House has condemned the Berlin attack through National Security Council spokesman Ned Price:
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms what appears to have been a terrorist attack on a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany, which has killed and wounded dozens. We send our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those killed, just as we wish a speedy recovery to all of those wounded. We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Germany. We have been in touch with German officials, and we stand ready to provide assistance as they recover from and investigate this horrific incident. Germany is one of our closest partners and strongest allies, and we stand together with Berlin in the fight against all those who target our way of life and threaten our societies.”
UPDATE 18:55 EST — Die Welt is reporting that the driver of the truck is “said to have come to Germany as a refugee,” although the article does not elaborate on where that information comes from.
UPDATE 18:15 EST — The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Berlin attack, according to an analysis of several online jihadist networks by the anti-ISIS Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force. However, some other analysts say the Iraqi group is premature with that declaration, and a formal claim of responsibility should be awaited from tradition ISIS communications outlets.
The UK Sun reports that Facebook has activated a “Safety Check” feature that allows people to tell friends and family they are safe. The Sun notes that Facebook’s initial statement on the Safety Check activation referred to an “attack” in Berlin, but this was later changed to read “violent incident.”
UPDATE 17:35 EST — Die Welt has made a correction and now believes that the man arrested was not of Chechen origin but is Pakistani.
UPDATE 17:24 EST — German paper Die Welt claims that the man arrested by police is of Chechen origin. The National Criminal Police Office (LKA) say that the dead passenger may have either died during the incident or may have been shot beforehand.
UPDATE 17:18 EST — French Front Nationale politician Marion Le Pen has expressed solidarity with the German people via Twitter and has called the incident an “Islamic terror attack.”
Solidarität mit dem deutschen Volk, das vom islamischen Terror schwer getroffen wurde. #Berlin
— Marion Maréchal (@MarionMarechal) December 19, 2016
UPDATE 17:08 EST — According to messages received by Breitbart Jerusalem over the encrypted Telegram app, supports of the Islamic State have celebrated the deaths of the nine Berliners in what they regard as an “attack.”
UPDATE 16:50 EST — Berlin Police have released a statement indicating that they believe the incident could be an attack or an accident. “We do not have any clear indications, either in one direction or the other,” a spokesman said but insisted the situation was now safe.
UPDATE 16:32 EST — Ariel Zurawski, a Polish man who is said to own the truck used in the attack has claimed via Polish TV channel TVN24 that he lost contact with the driver, also his cousin, around noon local time. Zurawski claimed that he could not see his cousin as having committed the attack and thought it likely he had been hijacked.
UPDATE 16:22 EST — Anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) MEP Marcus Pretzell has blamed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the attacks via Twitter and questioned when the German rule of law would strike back at terrorists. “When this damned hypocrisy finally stop?” he wrote.
— Marcus Pretzell (@MarcusPretzell) December 19, 2016
UPDATE 15:42 EST — A passenger has reportedly been found dead in the truck.
PICTURES FROM THE SCENE:
UPDATE 15:36 EST — A potential suspect has been arrested with the police saying the suspect was taken into custody close to the Tiergarten [park] which is home to the Berlin Zoo. The suspect is believed to be the truck driver.
UPDATE 15:34 EST — In a tweet, Berlin police have urged people to “stay at home & spread no rumors” after the truck attack.
Bitte helfen Sie uns. Bleiben Sie zu Hause & verbreiten Sie keine Gerüchte. Folgen Sie uns hier für wichtige Infosl. #Breitscheidplatz
— Polizei Berlin Einsatz (@PolizeiBerlin_E) December 19, 2016
UPDATE 15:27 EST — Reports suggest the perpetrator is still at large.
UPDATE 15:17 EST MONDAY — Police have released new details via Twitter claiming that at least nine people are confirmed to have been killed by the lorry.
Wir können 9 Tote & viele Verletzte bestätigen. Viele Kolleg. sind am #Breitscheidplatz im Einsatz um die Hintergründe zu ermitteln.
— Polizei Berlin (@polizeiberlin) December 19, 2016
ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:
Police in Berlin say the lorry stormed through the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin-Charlottenburg killing one man and injuring several others.
The lorry is said to have gone off the road and onto the market path which is purely for pedestrians. The truck then crashed after leaving the market. Police have yet to make a statement on any motives reports Berliner Zeitung but Sky News, quoting German media, said that “first indications from investigation suggest truck crash was an attack”.
— Roeland Roovers (@r0eland) December 19, 2016
— RetiredFireCaptain (@nendaas1) December 19, 2016
Eyewitnesses said people were trapped at the scene.
The incident has brought back memories of the attack in Nice, France earlier this year, where Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel killed 86 people by driving down a promenade on Bastille Day.
The incident also resembles attacks from 2014 when a number of attempted motor vehicle attacks were launched on Christmas markets in France.
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