12 killed as lorry ploughs into Berlin Xmas market
Berlin, Dec 20: A lorry ploughed into a busy Christmas market in Berlin, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more in what police said was a suspected terror attack.
Ambulances and heavily armed police rushed to the area yesterday after the vehicle mounted the pavement of the market in a square popular with tourists, in horrific scenes reminiscent of July’s deadly truck attack in the French Riviera city of Nice.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet, although there are many things pointing to one,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told public television.
As witnesses described scenes of panic and carnage, police said at least 12 people were killed and 48 others were injured in the incident which comes less than a week before Christmas.
Australian Trisha O’Neill told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was only metres from where the truck smashed into the crowded market.
“I just saw this huge black truck speeding through the markets crushing so many people and then all the lights went out and everything was destroyed.
“I could hear screaming and then we all froze. Then suddenly people started to move and lift all the wreckage off people, trying to help whoever was there.”
O’Neill said there was “blood and bodies everywhere”.
A German police spokeswoman told AFP that a man who was apparently driving the truck had been detained while the passenger was dead.
Security sources cited by DPA news agency said that the man behind the wheel was an asylum seeker from Afghanistan or Pakistan who arrived in Germany in February.
The daily Tagesspiegel said the man was known to police but for minor crimes, not links to terrorism.
The Polish owner of the lorry confirmed his driver was missing.