Twelve people have died and 48 were injured after a truck drove into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday.
A truck slammed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin on Monday night, killing at least 12 people and wounding nearly 50, in what authorities are investigating as a possible terrorist attack.
Berlin police have said the driver of a truck “intentionally” rammed into a Christmas market, targeting crowds there.
The incident took place at the Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church near the Zoologische Garten train station in the western part of the city.
The popular Christmas market was filled with a mix of tourists and locals when the large Scania truck hurtled into it.
The truck, which apparently belonged to a Polish transportation company and was loaded with metal rods, ran into the market outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church about 8 p.m. local time on Monday.
The owner of the company told German newspaper Bild that he had not communicated with the driver of the truck since about 4 p.m. local time, approximately four hours before the incident. He said he assumed the truck was stolen.
The suspected driver was detained near the scene while a passenger was found dead in the truck. The dead passenger has been identified by police as a Polish national. Security sources told German news agency DPA that the man detained likely came to Germany as a refugee in February and was either from Afghanistan or Pakistan.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet at the moment, although a lot points to it,” de Maiziere told German public broadcaster ARD. “There is a psychological effect in the whole country of the choice of words here, and we want to be very, very cautious and operate close to the actual investigation results, not with speculation.”
Berlin police have urged people to stay away from the site to make room for emergency vehicles and have warned against spreading rumors on social media. Police also requested that videos of the scene not be posted on the internet in order to protect the privacy of victims and their families.
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.”