At 8:00 PM on Monday night, a registered Polish truck careered off a highway and directly into the path of a Christmas Market in Breitscheidplatz, Germany, outside of Berlin.
The truck traveled for about 80 metres after exiting the highway at around 70 kilometres per hour, before coming to a crashing halt outside a memorial Church. The truck was full of 20 tonnes of steel grinders.
In its wake, the truck left utter destruction as it crushed stalls, ripped strung lights, and unfortunately, claimed the lives of, now, 12 people and left 50 injured.
None of the deceased were children, yet, six were identified as German citizens. Eighteen of the injured victims were deemed to be very serious injuries, including internal bleeding and loss of limbs.
There were many witnesses that encountered near death experiences, yet showed great amounts of compassion in such a dangerous situation.
At such a joyous time of the year, this news has been devastating for all.
Police have ruled out that the deceased body located in the driver’s cab of the truck, Łukasz Urban, 37, was not the perpetrator of this horrendous crime. It is believed he was also a victim and attempted to fight off the perpetrator before being stabbed and shot, himself.
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has visited the scene of the crime and is assuming that this is a terrorist attack.
With the current refugee crisis bearing down on Europe, Germany is at the forefront of receiving an overwhelming number of refugees. Merkel commented that “It would be particularly hard to bear for all of us if it was confirmed that a person committed this crime who asked [for] protection and asylum in Germany.”
The far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) said that Germany was no longer safe, in response to the disastrous attack. The party leader, Frauke Petry, accused Chancellor Merkel of “importing terror to Germany over the past one and a half years.”
The perpetrator of the attack is still on the run, but the federal German police are searching tirelessly. Extensive searches have been carried out at a hangar at the discontinued Tempelhof airport, one of the largest areas housing refugees. Their searches came up with nothing.
A suspect was initially arrested under suspicion, but as the cab of the truck was splayed with blood, the suspect returned no traces of blood or gun shot residue on himself, and was subsequently released.
The well-known terrorist group, ISIS, claimed responsibility for the abhorrent attack on Tuesday night, however, officials have stated that there is not, yet, enough evidence to support this claim. Their media outlet, however, has claimed the attacker as a “soldier of the Islamic State.”
This phrase has officials on their toes as it matches the claim of a similar lone wolf attack that saw 49 people killed in a gay nightclub in Orlando, earlier this year.