Truck Crashes into Christmas Market in Berlin

Spiegel, December 19, 2016

A semi-truck plowed into a Christmas market in the crowded heart of Berlin on Monday evening at around 8:15 p.m. local time in what police believe may have been a deliberate attack. Berlin officials have confirmed that nine were killed when the truck drove up onto the sidewalk. The AFP is reporting that at least 50 people were injured.

The incident took place at the Christmas market at the Gedächtniskirche war memorial near the Zoologische Garten train station in the western part of the city, an area heavily frequented by tourists and locals alike with its proximity to Berlin’s most popular shopping areas. According to media reports, the driver of the truck was at large immediately following the suspected attack but German police have reported that one suspect has been arrested and that he is suspected of having been the driver of the truck. No information about the suspect has yet been released. Police have confirmed that a passenger in the truck was killed.

Berlin’s state criminal police have taken over the investigation, a possible indication that a terrorist background may be suspected. Berlin police have urged people to stay away from the site to make room for emergency vehicles and has warned against spreading rumors on social media. Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature so that friends, family and acquaintances can indicate that they are safe.

The area around the incident has been closed off and emergency facilities have been set up on site for the injured. Berlin Mayor Michael Müller said that that the situation was under control, according to the Berlin daily Morgenpost.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said in the late evening that “my thoughts are with the family members of the victims and the injured in this horrific incident.” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted: “We are mourning the dead and hope that the many injured can get the help they need.”

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