The individual found in the passenger seat of the truck that plowed into the Berlin Christmas Market Monday has been identified as 37-year-old Lukasz Urban, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports. Police said Urban, a Polish truck driver, was found dead in his vehicle. He sustained gunshot and stab wounds, though no weapon was recovered. It is unclear what time Urban was killed. Ariel Zurawski, Urban’s cousin and the owner of the transport company he worked for, said the vehicle’s tracking device showed unusual movement “as if someone was learning to drive it” at approximately 4 p.m. local time, one hour after Urban last spoke to his wife by phone. The truck crashed into the Berlin Christmas market less than four hours later, killing 11 people and injuring 48 others.
At least 12 people were killed and 48 were injured Monday after a truck plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz square. Police detained a suspect, but are uncertain whether that person was the driver of the truck. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the rampage as “an act of terrorism.”
The incident Monday appeared to be similar to the deadly terrorist attack in Nice, France, in July when a truck barreled through a crowd and killed 86 people and injured 200 more.
This is a developing story and we’ll be following it here. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
One Victim Identified in Berlin Market Attack
ISIS Claims Responsibility for Berlin Attack
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the truck attack on the Berlin Christmas market Tuesday through the group’s Amaq News Agency. ISIS said the attack was made “in response to calls for targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition” by a “soldier of the Islamic State.” Rukmini Callimachi, a reporter covering ISIS and terrorism for The New York Times, notes that this type of wording has been commonly used in previous ISIS claims.
2. Notice language of the claim matching previous claims. Attacker is a "soldier of the Islamic State." And he carried out an "operation"— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) December 20, 2016
ISIS did not name the perpetrator, and it’s unclear whether the group actually knows who was behind the rampage.
Berlin Attack Suspect Released Due to Lack of Evidence
German police released the man arrested in connection with the truck attack on a Christmas market Tuesday, citing insufficient evidence. Klaus Kandt, Berlin’s police chief, said it was “uncertain” whether the 23-year-old Pakistani asylum-seeker whom police detained Monday was responsible for driving the truck into the Berlin square. Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, said the incident is being treated as an intentional attack, and Berlin police have warned that the perpetrator could be armed and at large.
Attack Prompts Criticism of Germany's Migrant Policy
German police said Tuesday that the suspect they arrested in connection to Monday’s truck rampage at a Christmas market in Berlin may be the wrong person, warning that the perpetrator could still be at large. Officials arrested a 23-year-old Pakistani asylum-seeker Monday night who they suspected drove the truck into the crowded market, killing at least 12 people and injuring 48 others. The individual, who first arrived in Germany last December, has denied any involvement. Still, the suspicion that an refugee could be behind the attack has prompted criticism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy, which has ushered in more than 1 million asylum-seekers to the country since 2015. Merkel said it would be “particularly appalling to the many, many Germans who are actively helping refugees every day” if the perpetrator is found to be a refugee. Though a majority of Germans initially backed her policy, support for the program has waned, prompting members of Merkel’s own ruling bloc to blame the influx of refugees on their regional election loss in September.
Death Toll in Berlin Truck Crash Increases to 12
Berlin police now say 12 people were killed when a truck crashed into Christmas market in Berlin Monday.
A sad certainty: Today 12 people died at #Breitscheidplatz, 48 partially seriously injured are cared for by hospitals.— PolizeiBerlinEinsatz (@PolizeiBerlin_E) December 20, 2016
Officials also increased the total number of people injured in the incident to 48, all of whom were transported to local hospitals. Police say they are still investigated the crash.
Berlin Police Say 45 Injured in Crash
Berlin police say 45 people have been transported to local hospitals after a truck plowed through a crowd at a local holiday market in Germany.
The crash killed nine people. Police arrested the driver.
One Person Arrested in Connection to Crash
A person suspected to be the driver of the truck that crashed into the Christmas market has been arrested, Berlin police said Monday.
A suspicious person was arrested near #Breitscheidplatz. Whether it is the driver of the truck, is currently under consideration.— PolizeiBerlinEinsatz (@PolizeiBerlin_E) December 19, 2016
Police said one of the people killed in the crash was a passenger in the truck. Neither person has been identified.