Berlin Christmas market 'attack': Suspected driver of lorry which ploughed through crowd arrested

Samuel Osborne
Monday 19 December 2016 21:39
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Video shows immediate aftermath of Berlin lorry attack

The suspected driver of the lorry which ploughed through a crowded Christmas market in the centre of Berlin has been arrested, police say.

At least nine people died and more than 50 were injured in what police said was probably a delibarate attack.

German police arrested the suspected driver, a police spokesman told N24 Television. The passenger in the truck died at scene.

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Police said on Twitter that the truck rammed into the market outside the capital's popular Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Police said the lorry had Polish number plates and belonged to a Polish delivery company. The company say they lost touch with the lorry about 4pm local time and there were suggestions that the vehicle may have been hijacked

Video of the aftermath showed people helping the injured on the ground.

It came less than a month after the US State Department called for caution in markets and other public places, saying extremist groups including Isis and al-Qaeda were focusing “on the upcoming holiday season and associated events”.

Isis and al-Qaeda have both called on followers to use trucks in particular to attack public places.

On 14 July, a truck ploughed into a Bastille Day crowd in the southern French city of Nice, killing 86 people. Isis claimed that attack, which was carried out by a Tunisian living in France.

Mike Fox, a tourist from Birmingham, said the truck missed him by about three metres as it drove into the Berlin market.

“It was definitely deliberate,” he said, adding that he helped people who appeared to have broken limbs, and that others were trapped under Christmas stands.

Dozens of ambulances lined the streets waiting to take the injured away, and heavily armed police patrolled the area. Police on Twitter urged people to stay away from the area, saying they need to keep the streets clear for rescue vehicles.

Police spokesman Winfried Wenzel told ZDF television that the suspect was arrested nearby, but offered no further details.

Police also said that there was no indication of further “dangerous situations” in Berlin after the incident, but urged Berliners to stay indoors.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was being briefed on the incident by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and the mayor of Berlin, a government spokesman said.

Agencies contributed to this report

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