At least nine people have been reportedly killed and many more injured, according to German police, after a truck plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin in what is currently believed to have been a deliberate attack.
A vehicle–a large black Scania articulated lorry–ran into the market outside the landmark Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church earlier today, which is Monday evening in Germany’s time-zone. It appears that the aforementioned christmas market is the most famous one in Berlin.
Police said the lorry came from the direction of Budapester Strasse–over the pavement–only coming to a halt by a Christmas tree in front of the Memorial Church named Gedächtnis Kirche.
Known locally as the jagged tooth, the church was bombed in the second world war, and it has been left more or less in its ruined state as a memorial to the victims of the war. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Berlin, as well as it is located very close to the Berlin zoo.
Police have now cleared the area and volunteers have already set up an information point for relatives looking for news of missing loved ones.
The Christmas market has been cleared, and a police spokesman said there are concerns the crash may have also caused a gas leak. The driver of the truck has reportedly been apprehended.
A photograph posted by the Morgenpost newspaper showed damaged tables and stalls, while footage posted online by the same outlet showed a truck on the scene and police officers around it, investigating.
The attack is now being officially investigated as it were an act of terrorism. And the attack has been claimed by Islamic State.
Breitscheidplatz, where the market was set up, is not only Berlin’s, but Germany’s busiest shopping areas.
One witness, Emma Rushton, said the lorry ploughed through the market, adding that people had been crushed.
The incident evoked memories of an attack in July in Nice, France, which left 86 people dead. A Tunisian-born man drove a 19-tonne truck along the beach front, striking down people who had gathered to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day.
Truck that burst into side of Christmas market at Breitscheidtplatz, in front of Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church pic.twitter.com/bbXEcrUJAv
— Philip Oltermann (@philipoltermann) December 19, 2016