Truck Crashes into Berlin Christmas Market
At least 12 people died and 45 more were injured on Monday, December 19, when a truck, similar to a semi or 18-wheeler, plowed through a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany.
Around 8 p.m. local time, the truck jumped the sidewalk near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The vehicle traveled 50-80 meters before stopping, taking down festive booths, overturning tables and smashing into crowds enjoying the massively popular tourist attraction.
Police believe there were two people in the truck’s cab at the time of the incident. One passenger was found dead inside the truck while the other jumped out of the truck. A suspect was arrested very near to the scene.
Tuesday morning, Police tweeted that they were unsure the person they detained was in fact the driver of the truck. They are still searching for the suspect.
The license plates on the truck belonged to a Polish truck company. When police and reporters called on the company for more information, they told them the truck was headed to Berlin from Poland on business and was being driven by the cousin of the company’s owner. The owner did not believe that his cousin would carry out an attack like this, and told police that he had lost contact with the driver around 4 p.m. that afternoon. There are suspicions that the truck had been hijacked.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but Berlin police say they suspect the incident was a terrorist attack. In a statement, the police added that they were working swiftly and with “necessary care” in the investigation.
The incident comes just months after the vehicle attack on Nice, France during Bastille Day celebrations. More than 80 people were killed and dozens more injured when a truck evaded barriers and drove through the crowds.
Just recently, an Islamic publication wrote to encourage readers to plot attacks using vehicles to create mass casualties. German Christmas Markets around the country were placing barriers and extra security guards around the perimeter of the festivities to protect against something just like this.