Nine people are dead while 50 others are injured after a truck driver drove into a crowded Christmas market on a city square in central Berlin. This took place less than an hour ago, according to reports. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said he was in constant touch with security authorities, but didn’t give any indication in a statement whether they believe the incident was an accident or an attack.
German media reported that the truck driver jumped the sidewalk around wooden stands at the market, which was set up around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, whose jagged spire, a reminder of the bombings during World War II, is one of the most symbolic sites in Berlin. It sits between two main streets that run through the heart of West Berlin. The crash occurred at Breitscheidplatz in the western part of central Berlin. The truck had Polish license plates.
This is being investigated as a terrorist attack and is being treated as a “mass casualty” event. There is still much more that needs to be done to find information on the driver and the motive behind this attack. A tragedy of this magnitude is unprecedented in modern time Berlin.
This market is one of the largest landmarks in West Berlin where thousands of people flock for shopping during Christmastime. The vehicle, traveling approximately 40 mph sent shoppers running and screaming before the driver fled the scene. A man was arrested shortly after, however, police were unable to confirm whether he was the driver. Also, the police said a passenger was found dead in the cab of the truck.
Witnesses are speaking out currently and our team is monitoring this situation, as well as other parts of the world – in case of a second attack. We will bring you more on this story as it develops.
UPDATE: 7:00 PM CST – Twelve now confirmed dead as President Obama denounces the attacks calling them acts of terror, while President-elect blames “Islamist terrorists” for the attack. According to police, the truck was reported stolen by a man living in Poland.