A truck ran into a Christmas market Monday evening in Berlin during what police describe as a “severe incident.” There were no immediate details on injuries however, it is now being reported that there are at least nine people dead and at least 50 injured.
German newspapers Berliner Zeitung and Berliner Morgenpost reported that the truck ran into the market at Breitscheidplatz, which is near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Both newspapers reported it wasn’t immediately clear whether the incident was an accident or some kind of terrorist attack, however, police on the scene are saying their initial investigations lead them to believe it was a deliberate attack. Similarly, one witness cited by CNN said, “It didn’t feel like it was an accident.”
Local media, citing police at the scene, said first indications pointed to an attack on the market, situated near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue and at the foot of the ruined Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church that was kept as a ruin after World War Two.
The incident evoked memories of an attack in France in July when Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a 19-tonne truck along the beach front, mowing down people who had gathered to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day, killing 86 people.
The company that owns the truck is a Polish company named Ariel Zurawski, named after the company’s owner. There were two men in the truck cab, one fled and another has been arrested. A third man, previously unknown to police, was found dead inside the cab. There’s a high probability that the dead man is Ariel’s cousin. Read this quote from the businessman, who claims that he last spoke to his cousin around noon, here:
“According to me, they did something to the driver, hijacked the truck and they did what they did. This wasn’t my driver. I vouch for him, he was my cousin.”