12 people have been killed and 48 injured after a lorry ploughed through a Christmas market in Berlin. Police investigators are treated the incident “as a probable terrorist attack.” Video footage from the area depicts stalls knocked over and multiple people lying on the ground.
The lorry, which was loaded with steel beams, barrelled into the market at 20:14, one of the busiest times of the market. It tore through numerous stalls and people and continued up until 50-80m. A Polish man, believed to be the lorry driver, was found dead in the passenger seat. The lorry owner, Ariel Zurawski, confirmed the driver had been missing since Monday 4pm.
The market is near Kurfuerstendamm, the main shopping street in Berlin’s west. The attack occurred beside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a bombed relic from World War Two that was preserved a symbol of peace.
One of the witnesses, Trisha O’Neill told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that there was “blood and bodies everywhere”.
“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.”
As of now, one person is being questioned by police, an Afghani or Pakistani asylum seeker. He has been named Naved B and was caught fleeing the lorry. After running for 2km, police seized him near a public park.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the attack and said it would “particularly sickening” if the attacker was proven to be a refugee. She added that those responsible will be punished “as harshly as the law allows.”
Berlin has closed all markets out of respect. Police patrols have been increased, not just in Berlin but in Manchester and Birmingham where similar Christmas markets are currently running.