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Twelve Dead as Truck Hits Berlin Christmas Market | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Firefighters inspect the site after a truck ran into a crowded Christmas market and killed several people in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. (Michael Sohn/AP)

Berlin- At least 12 people were killed and 48 were injured on Monday evening after a truck rammed into a crowd at a Christmas market in Berlin. According to German media sources, the police believe the incident is an intentional act.

The Berliner Morgenpost reported the truck ran into the market outside the landmark Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Monday evening. A photo posted by the Morgenpost showed damaged tables and stalls.

Germany’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said “many things” pointed to a deliberate attack.

Among the dead was a passenger in the truck, who succumbed as paramedics treated him, Berlin police spokesman Winfried Wenzel said.

Wenzel told the German news agency DPA that the driver of the truck was an asylum seeker from Afghanistan or Pakistan who had arrived in Germany in February. He said the truck drove on a sidewalk of the market hitting many people.

Later in a tweet, German police urged people to stay indoors.

Police also tweeted that a suspect was arrested near the scene, and authorities were checking if it was the driver of the truck. No further details were immediately available.

“What we see here is dramatic,” said Berlin’s mayor, Michael Muller. “My thoughts are with the families of the dead and injured.”

Monday’s incident in Germany was reminiscent of the July 14 attack in Nice, France, in which 86 people were killed and more than 400 injured when a truck plowed into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks. ISIS had claimed responsibility for that attack, which was carried out by a Tunisian living in France.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent condolences to Germany after what he called a “shocking” attack.

“This crime against peaceful civilians is shocking in its savage cynicism,” Putin wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck, according to a statement on the Kremlin’s website.