12 killed in probable terrorist attack in Berlin Christmas market

December 20, 2016 | By | Reply More

German police said on Tuesday they were treating as “a probable terrorist attack” the killing of 12 people when a lorry ploughed through a packed Berlin Christmas market.

christmasDozens more were wounded Monday when the truck tore through the crowd, smashing through wooden stalls and crushing victims, in scenes reminiscent of July’s deadly attack in the French Riviera city of Nice.

Police detained the man believed to have deliberately crashed the heavy vehicle loaded with steel beams into the festive market in a area popular with tourists near the capital’s iconic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet, although there are many things pointing to one,” said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere hours later.

One of the survivors, Australian Trisha O’Neill, said she was only metres from “this huge black truck speeding through the markets crushing so many people”.

“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,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

O’Neill said there was “blood and bodies everywhere”.

– High alert –

Europe has been on high alert for most of 2016, with terror attacks striking Paris and Brussels, while Germany has been hit by several assaults claimed by the Islamic State group and carried out by asylum-seekers.

An axe rampage on a train in the southern state of Bavaria in July wounded five people, and a suicide bombing left 15 people injured in the same state six days later.

In another case, a 16-year-old German-Moroccan girl in February stabbed a police officer in the neck with a kitchen knife, wounding him badly, allegedly on IS orders.

The arrival of 890,000 refugees last year has polarised Germany, with critics calling the influx a serious security threat.

The attack in Berlin comes five months after Tunisian extremist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a truck into a crowd on the Nice seafront, killing 86 people.

In response to the suspected attack in Berlin, France beefed up security at its own Christmas markets.

“The French share in the mourning of the Germans in the face of this tragedy that has hit all of Europe,” President Francois Hollande said.

The Nice bloodshed — as people were watching a fireworks display on the Bastille Day holiday on July 14 — further traumatised a France already reeling from a series of jihadist attacks.

The United States labelled Monday’s incident an apparent “terrorist attack” and pledged its support.

President-elect Donald Trump blamed “Islamist terrorists” for a “slaughter” of Christians in the German capital.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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