“I saw much chaos and many injured people.”
At least nine people have been killed and 50 injured in Berlin, Germany, after a truck drove into the crowd at the busy Breitscheidplatz Christmas markets on Monday evening. German media have reported the truck jumped the sidewalk and plowed into the crowd near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, where market stalls were set up.
While the nationality of the driver is unknown, the truck had Polish plates. The driver fled the scene but police have reported a “suspicious person” has been apprehended near the scene and taken into custody, adding “whether it is the driver of the truck is currently under consideration.”
A passenger in the truck was killed, but German police spokesman, Thomas Neuendorf, said it isn’t clear how they died or what their relationship to the driver and incident is.
— Emma Rushton (@ERushton) December 19, 2016
Jan Hollitzer, deputy editor-in-chief of Berliner Morgenpost, witnessed the incident.
“I heard a big noise and then I moved on the Christmas market and saw much chaos and many injured people,” she said.
“It was really traumatic.”
The market has been evacuated and sealed off, and officers are now patrolling the area with rifles. A nearby underground station has also been closed off for safety reasons. Police have set up a meeting point for relatives and encouraged people to stay indoors.
Please help us. Stay home and do not spread rumors. Follow us here for important information. #Breitscheidplatz
— PolizeiBerlinEinsatz (@PolizeiBerlin_E) December 19, 2016
German officials are still trying to determine if the incident was an attack or an accident, and have been tweeting that the background is unknown and asking people “not to spread rumors” while they work to find a motive. Germany’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, has said federal prosecutors are handling the investigation and that they “are mourning with the relatives” of the victims.
The incident echoes the July Bastille Day attack in Nice, France, when a truck drove into crowds watching a fireworks display and killed over 80 people. The Bastille Day attack was claimed by ISIS. The US state department had issued a travel warning in November, claiming it had “credible information” of planned terror attacks at Christmas and holiday events.
This is a live story and was correct at the time of uploading. Stay tuned for updates as they occur.