Berlin attack: Christmas market truck smash just the latest in long series of European terror attacks

Horror in Germany follows sequence of assaults on major European targets by Islamic extremists over the last two years, after devastating attacks in Paris, Nice and Brussels

Nina Massey
Tuesday 20 December 2016 10:09 GMT
The extent of the damage at the scene where a truck crashed into a Christmas market close to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, in Berlin, Germany
The extent of the damage at the scene where a truck crashed into a Christmas market close to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, in Berlin, Germany (Bernd von Jutrczenka/EPA)

The truck that crashed into a Christmas market in Berlin is the latest in a string of targeted attacks across Europe.

These include:


Two female police officers were attacked in the Belgium city on August 6 by a man wielding a machete and shouting “Allahu Akhbar”.

Both were injured but only the perpetrator, a 33-year-old Algerian man with a criminal record named only as "K.B.", was killed in the incident.

Isis later claimed responsibility for the incident.

Father Jacques Hamel

On July 26, 86-year-old French Catholic priest Father Jaques Hamel was murdered in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, when his throat was slit by two Isis supporters, Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean.

The men filmed the incident and forced two nuns to watch before being shot by police as they fled the church.


A 27-year-old Syrian refugee, whose application for asylum had been declined by Germany, blew himself up at an open-air music festival in Ansbach, Bavaria, on July 25, injuring 12 people.

Bavarian train axeman

On July 18, several people were hurt when a 17-year-old Afghan teen stormed a busy commuter train passing through Bavaria brandishing a fire axe.

The youth, who was also heard to scream "Allahu Akhbar" at the scene, was shot dead by police.


Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian resident in France, drove a stolen 19-tonne Renault cargo lorry through a parade of Bastille Day revellers on the Promenade des Anglais in the resort town.

86 people were killed in the July 14 incident, many crushed in the stampede to escape.

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was subsequently shot and killed in a gunfight with police.

Police officials murdered

Isis-inspired terrorist Larossi Abballa stabbed a police commander and his partner to death on June 13, in an attack streamed on Facebook Live.

Having tracked the couple for days, he killed Jean-Baptiste Salvaing, 42, a police commander in the Paris suburb of Les Mureaux, outside his home before going inside and taking Jessica Schneider and their three-year-old son hostage.

He killed the woman, who was a police administrator in the suburb of Mantes-la-Jolie, but did not harm the boy and was later arrested.


Co-ordinated suicide bombings and shootings at cafes, bars, a rock concert at the Bataclan theatre and the Stade de France stadium in the French capital left 130 people dead in the worst terrorist assault on Europe in a decade.

Most of the Paris attackers died on the night of November 13 2015.

Belgian extremist Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, suspected of masterminding the deadly attacks in Paris, died along with his female cousin in a police raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis days later.

Train gunman thwarted

A man on board a Thalys high-speed train that had just crossed into France from Belgium tried to open fire with an AK-47 assault rifle but was overpowered by a Briton and three Americans, two of them off-duty members of the US armed forces.

IT expert Chris Norman, 62, was awarded the Legion d'Honneur - France's top bravery award - for his intervention.

French police declared it an Islamic extremist attack, but the alleged gunman, Ayoub El Khazzani, maintained he wanted to commit a robbery.

French authorities have linked El Khazzani to Abaaoud, the ringleader of the Islamic State cell that attacked Paris last November and Brussels in March.


Yassin Salhi, a truck driver with a history of radical Islamic ties dating back to 2003, decapitated his employer before driving to a US-owned gas plant on June 26 last year.

He was also accused of trying to cause an explosion by crashing his delivery truck into gas canisters at the Air Products warehouse, in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon, and hanging his employer's severed head on a factory gate.

Salhi was found dead in his Paris prison cell in December 2015. The authorities said Salhi, 35, had killed himself.

Charlie Hebdo

Gunmen stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7 last year, killing 12 people.

The nation's sense of panic was heightened as the assailants fled, and there was a subsequent attack on a kosher supermarket, with four others being killed. The incidents triggered worldwide outrage.


In March this year Brussels, Belgium, was hit by suicide bombings at the airport and on the Metro which killed 32 victims and wounded 270. The attacks were also claimed by Isis.


Although the majority of incidents were focused on Europe, a June 2015 terror attack in Tunisia saw 30 British holidaymakers were gunned down at a tourist resort in Sousse.

All the victims were killed by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui Yacoubi at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel and the adjoining beach at the popular resort of Port El Kantaoui.

Just months earlier, in March 2015, 24 people were killed in a terror attack at Bardo National Museum in the country's capital, Tunis.


Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in