12 Killed as Lorry Ploughs Into Berlin Market

12 Killed as Lorry Ploughs Into Berlin Market12 Killed as Lorry Ploughs Into Berlin Market

A lorry ploughed into a busy Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more in what police said was a suspected terror attack.

Ambulances and heavily armed police rushed to the area after the vehicle mounted the pavement of the market in a square popular with tourists, in horrific scenes reminiscent of July’s deadly truck attack in the French Riviera city of Nice.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet, although there are many things pointing to one,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told public television, AFP reported.

As witnesses described scenes of panic and carnage, police said at least 12 people were killed and 48 others were injured in the incident, which came less than a week before Christmas.

Australian Trisha O’Neill told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was only meters from where the truck smashed into the crowded market.

“I just saw this huge black truck speeding through the markets crushing so many people and then all the lights went out and everything was destroyed.

“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”.

O’Neill said there was “blood and bodies everywhere”.

A German police spokeswoman said a man who was apparently driving the truck had been detained while the passenger was dead.

However, the Pakistani suspect arrested following the truck attack in the German capital reportedly had no involvement in the crime.

The actual perpetrator is armed and still at large, Die Welt reports, citing high-ranking security sources.

“We have the wrong man,” Die Welt cited a Berlin police official as saying. “And thus a new situation. The actual perpetrator is still at large and armed, and can inflict more damage.”

The source said that all police and special forces units in Berlin have been informed and put on high alert.

The Polish owner of the lorry confirmed his driver was missing.

“We haven’t heard from him since this afternoon. We don’t know what happened to him. He’s my cousin; I’ve known him since I was a kid. I can vouch for him,” transport company owner, Ariel Zurawski, said.

Lukasz Wasik of the same company said contact was lost with the 37-year old at around 3 pm (1400 GMT).

“We are investigating whether it was a terror attack but do not yet know what was behind it,” a police spokesman said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted quickly to the incident, with spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeting: “We mourn the dead and hope that the many people injured can be helped.”

Police said the truck made it as far as 80 meters into the Christmas market before it came to a halt.

Europe has been on high alert for most of 2016, with terror attacks striking Paris and Brussels, while Germany has been hit by several assaults claimed by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and carried out by asylum-seekers.

In response to the suspected attack in Berlin, France beefed up security at its own Christmas markets.

“The French share in the mourning of the Germans in the face of this tragedy that has hit all of Europe,” President Francois Hollande said.

The United States labeled Monday’s incident an apparent “terrorist attack” and pledged its support.

The crash happened in the shadow of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church whose damage in a World War II bombing raid has been preserved as a reminder of the horrors of war for future generations.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints