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Berlin attacker was Pakistani refugee: German media

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The man who plowed a truck into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin on Monday is believed to be a Pakistani refugee.

German newspaper Bild cited security sources as saying the suspect in Berlin Christmas market incident was a 23-year-old from Pakistan named Naved B. He arrived in Germany a year ago.

Earlier, German media cited local security sources as saying there was evidence suggesting the attacker who killed 12 people and injured 48 others was Pakistani or Afghan, Reuters reported.

The Pakistani refugee is said to have arrived in the country in February 2016.


Daily newspaper Tagesspiegel reported “security sources” saying that the person arrested was “Pakistani or Afghani”. The report has not been confirmed.

Police said on Twitter that they had taken one suspect into custody and that another passenger from the truck had died as it crashed into people gathered around wooden huts serving mulled wine and sausages at the foot of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church in the heart of former West Berlin. However, police said the nationality of the suspected driver, who fled the crash scene and was later arrested, was unclear.


Pictures from the scene showed Christmas decorations protruding from the smashed windscreen of the black truck. In the aftermath, it was resting lopsided on the pavement with a mangled Christmas tree beneath its wheels.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the circumstances of the crash were still unclear, adding, “I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet although a lot points to that.”

Berlin police said on Tuesday that investigators assume the driver of a truck that ploughed into a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others, did so intentionally in a suspected terrorist attack.


“Our investigators assume that the truck was deliberately steered into the crowd at the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz,” police said on Twitter. “All police measures related to the suspected terrorist attack at Breitscheidplatz are progressing at full steam and with the necessary diligence,” police said.

The incident evoked memories of an attack in Nice, France in July when a Tunisian-born man 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. That attack was claimed by Islamic State.

US President-elect Donald Trump condemned what he called an attack, linking it to “Islamist terrorists” before German police officials had said who was responsible.


The White House on Monday condemned what it called “what appears to have been a terrorist attack.”

Germany has not in recent years suffered a large-scale attack from militants like those seen in neighboring Belgium and France.

But it was shaken by two smaller attacks in Bavaria over the summer, one on a train near Wuerzburg and another at a music festival in Ansbach that wounded 20 people. Both were claimed by Islamic State.

And government officials have said the country, which accepted nearly 900,000 migrants last year, many from the war-torn Middle East, lies in the “crosshairs of terrorism.”

In mid-October, police arrested a Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bomb attack on an airport in Berlin. The 22-year-old man committed suicide in prison shortly after his arrest.


A government spokesperson said Chancellor Angela Merkel was briefed on the situation by de Maiziere and the Berlin mayor. Police said there were no indications of further dangerous situations in the area and urged people to stay away from the scene.


“I’m deeply shaken about the horrible news of what occurred at the memorial church in Berlin,” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday condemned the suspected mass terror attack. Extending his heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Germany, PM Nawaz said, “Pakistanis share the grief of German people and stand by them in this painful time. Terrorism is our common enemy and the world needs to put up a joint fight against this menace.”

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Muslim Global: Berlin attacker was Pakistani refugee: German media
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