EghtesadOnline: Nine people died and at least 50 were injured after a truck mounted the pavement and rammed into crowds at a Berlin Christmas market.
The German capital’s police department said that the truck crashed into the market shortly before 8 p.m. on Monday at Breitscheidplatz, near the Kurfuerstendamm in the west of the city center. Emergency services were attending in force, they said.
According to Bloomberg, Berlin police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf, speaking to reporters, said that a suspect had been arrested and authorities were investigating the motive behind the attack.
“The suspected driver of the truck has been arrested here nearby,” Neuendorf said. “We can establish that the passenger in the truck was killed.” The suspect was apprehended a few hundred meters from the scene of the attack on the basis of descriptions from witnesses. There is no information on the nationality of the suspect.
While police refused to speculate on any connection with terrorism, the incident is reminiscent of an attack in Nice in July, when more than 80 died after a truck drove through late-night crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the seafront. As the Berlin reports came in, police in Zurich said that three people were injured after a shooting that took place earlier Monday in a mosque near the city’s main train station.
Police cordoned off the Berlin accident site, with police vans and cars parked around the main streets accessing the square and red and white tape blocking access for pedestrians and cars. Police with machine guns guarded the area near the Berlin zoo and the upscale KaDeWe department store. Fire engines and sirens could be heard wailing while people still strolled near the area of Europa Center, with its many shops and offices.
The Breitscheidplatz is a large rectangular square in the heart of west Berlin adjacent to the main Ku’damm shopping mile that is among the busiest parts of the capital in the days before Christmas. The square is the site of the Kaiser-Wilhelm church whose ruined facade has been preserved to commemorate World War II and is a popular tourist destination.
Christmas markets are located across Berlin and are a common feature of German cities during the festive season, with vendors in wooden stalls typically selling everything from sausages to candles to pottery.