back to top
World

Developing...

Berlin Christmas Market Attacker Radicalized In Italian Prison, Officials Say

German authorities have released a 40-year-old Tunisian man after determining he was not linked to Anis Amri, the driver of the truck that plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin.

Originally posted on
Updated on

What We Know So Far

  • A truck drove into a crowded Christmas market in Breitscheidplatz, Berlin, killing at least 12 people and hospitalizing 48 others on December 20 evening. Eighteen of the wounded are seriously hurt, and 24 have been released from hospital.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before visiting the attack site on December 21 that Germany "mustn't be paralyzed" by fear.
  • ISIS — through its Amaq news agency — took responsibility for the attack, claiming the truck's driver was its "soldier."
  • The Tunisian suspect, Anis Amri, was killed in a shootout with police in the early hours of December 23 in Milan, Italy, after pulling a gun on officers during a "routine check".

Updates

Posted at

Italian prime minister says Berlin attacker was radicalized in prison

Daniele Bennati / AP

Italian Police cordon off an area after a shootout between police and Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri.

Italian officials said Amis Amri, the Tunisian attacker who drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, was radicalized while imprisoned in Italy, according to multiple reports.

Amri was killed in Milan after a shootout with police, apparently fleeing Germany after the attack.

Amri had first migrated to Italy in 2011 after emigrating from Tunisia, but was jailed soon after arriving in Italy for setting fire to a migrant center.

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said it was in jail that the Tunisian national was apparently radicalized, the Associated Press reported.

"We know that in most cases, the radicalization happens in our prisons, in our neighborhoods," Gentiloni said.

Franco Roberti, Italy's top anti-terrorism prosecutor, also told Italian newspaper La Repubblica Amri was radicalized "in desperation, isolation, and marginalization" while in prison.

Though radicalized in Italy, Gentiloni told reporters investigators have found no evidence Amri was trying to connect with any network when he returned to Italy.

—Salvador Hernandez

Posted at

Man detained for possible connection to Berlin attacker released

A Tunisian man, detained in Berlin yesterday by German authorities after suspicions he was linked to the December 20 attacker, has been released.

Authorities had suspected the 40-year-old Tunisian man after his number was discovered on Anis Amri's phone.

Frauke Koehler, spokesperson for the German federal prosecutor, confirmed he was not believed to be connected to Amri, the Associated Press reported.

Amri was killed by an Italian police officer during a shootout in Milian, just a few days after he drove a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin.

Meanwhile, Koehler also confirmed that the weapon used against the Milanese police by Amri was of the same calibre as that used against the Polish truck driver prior to the attack in Germany.

MORE: Weapon used by Berlin truck attacker against Italian police has same caliber as used in Berlin - German federal prosecutor spokeswoman

Posted at

A Tunisian man with possible links to Anis Amri, the driver of the truck that plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin, has been detained by German authorities in Berlin, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

The 40-year-old man's phone number was saved in Amri's cellphone, the Associated Press reported.

Amri drove a large truck into the busy Berlin market on Dec. 19, killing 12 people. He was killed days later in a shootout with police in Milan, Italy.

Prosecutors said their investigation suggests the man detained Wednesday, who was not identified, may have been involved in the Christmas market attack, but did not explain how.

German officials have until Thursday to decide if there is enough evidence against the suspect to seek an arrest warrant and keep him in custody, the AP reported.

Salvador Hernandez

Posted at

A crowdfunding campaign has raised over £141,000 ($170,000) for Lukasz Urban and his family. Urban was the Polish truck driver who was allegedly murdered as he attempted to regain control over his truck heading toward the crowded Christmas market in Berlin.

The GoFundMe page was started by a British truck driver named Dave Duncan "to help the family of Lukasz Urban."

Duncan wrote that while he did not know Urban personally, he felt that "as a fellow trucker," he wanted to "reach out to the trucking community and beyond to help in some small way."

Urban, 37, was found dead in his truck with multiple stab wounds and gunshot wounds. An autopsy showed that he was still alive during the stabbing, and it's believed he was trying to grab hold of the steering wheel as it plowed through the market on Monday.

—Tanya Chen

Posted at

Nephew of Berlin market attacker arrested in Tunisia

Tunisian security forces have arrested the nephew of the Berlin market attacker Anis Amri and two others suspects, officials said Saturday morning.

The Tunisian interior ministry said the three suspects, aged between 18 and 27, were members of a "terrorist cell," the BBC reported.

In a statement the interior ministry said Amri's nephew had admitted to communicating with his uncle via an encrypted chat application. The nephew also confessed he supported ISIS, the statement said.

Posted at

The mother of Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri told the Associated Press outside her home on Friday that she fears any motive for the carnage will be buried with him after he was fatally shot by police in Italy.

Speaking outside her home in the Tunisian town of Oueslatia, Nour El Houda Hassani told the AP that "within him is a great secret. They killed him, and buried the secret with him."

ISIS has claimed that Amri rammed his truck into the Christmas market, killing 12 and injuring scores of others, as one of their soldiers, but officials have not confirmed a motive and continue to investigate.

He was killed Friday in a shootout with police in Milan, Italy, after pulling a gun on officers during a "routine check." One officer was suffered a non-fatal gunshot.

"I want the truth about my son," his mother said. "Who was behind him?"

—Jason Wells

Posted at

Amri's family asks that his remains be sent to his hometown

Fethi Belaid / AFP / Getty Images

Walid Amri (left), the brother of 24-year-old Anis Amri, the prime suspect in Berlin's deadly truck attack, poses with a portrait of his brother.

The family of the Berlin attack suspect has asked Tunisia's local administration for information on his role in the attack, the AP reported, citing an anonymous source.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry said that the body would likely be repatriated after investigators perform their examinations.

–Jessica Simeone

Posted at

Video posted online shows Berlin attacker taking credit for attack, pledging allegiance to ISIS

video-cdn.buzzfeed.com

A video posted online showed Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri taking credit for the Christmas market attack and pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In the video, Amri also called for ISIS supporters to take revenge against the "crusaders" who are bombing Muslims.

The video, which appears to have been recorded by himself after the attack, indicates Amri possibly acted alone and was not part of an ISIS cell in Europe.

Whenever ISIS itself is involved in a terror attack, it has a history of releasing videos taken before the attack to establish that they had prior knowledge and plans of the attack. Examples include the attacks in Brussels and Paris, where days after the bombing and gun assault, ISIS released a statement and videos of the attackers who were directed to carry out the mission.

–Mitch Prothero

Posted at

Angela Merkel delivered a statement in Berlin, in which she said that the death of Anis Amri will not mean an end to investigations following Monday's attack in Berlin, but added that all indications suggest he was responsible.

"The research and investigations are not over yet. In Berlin, the intelligence bureau will continue and look into the background of the attack... we will not rest until we know who possibly helped him," Merkel said.

She also lauded the cooperation across the continent in the fight against terrorism following the actions of two Italian police officers early on Friday morning.

"It is good to know we are very determined in Europe and beyond to fight it," she said, via a translation provided by Sky News.

"We feel for our friends to show sympathy, and I also would like to show my gratitude to the Italians, because a young Italian lady was one of the victims. I think that any family at Christmas will feel her family's pain."

Merkel added that had spoken with her Tunisian counterpart and agreed to "intensify our collaboration against terrorism." She said that "those who have no right to reside in Germany will see the consequences."

"You can be sure that our values will be stronger than the hateful values of terrorism," Merkel said.

Posted at

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere confirmed during a press conference in Berlin that the man killed in the shootout in Milan this morning was truck attack suspect Anis Amri.

"This manhunt, which has ended with success, doesn't end the investigation - we have to investigate further. Unfortunately the terror threat has not changed. It is still at high risk," De Maiziere said, in a translation from Sky News published by The Guardian.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to speak at 3 p.m. local time.

Posted at

Italian state police have released an image of wounded officer Cristian Movio, who was hospitalized following the confrontation with Anis Amri this morning

This is Cristian Movio - the police officer injured by #AnisAmri in shootout in #Milan - picture from… https://t.co/8YXhkA1aGG

An image of the other officer who was involved in the incident, Luca Scata, has also been released.

LUCA SCATA', IL POLIZIOTTO CHE HA UCCISO IL TERRORISTA, E' UN AGENTE IN PROVA - https://t.co/G7BBOt6jCa

Posted at

New Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni says he informed Merkel of Amri's death

Gentiloni, Italy's new PM, says he was the one to make the call to Merkel this AM that Amri was dead.

In a brief news conference in Milan, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni — who has been in office for less than two weeks — said he personally informed Angela Merkel of Anis Amir's death this morning.

He added that terrorist threats should "not be underestimated" at the current time.

Posted at

German foreign ministry not yet confirming identity of man shot in Milan

Germany's foreign ministry is currently holding off on its own confirmation that the person killed in Milan is Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri.

Foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer told a press conference in Berlin: "The intelligence office in Rome told us that the person that we suspect to be the terror suspect had been shot, and is supposedly identified, but our government has not done this.

"If it is the person, and this is the case, we would not expect any further danger. We express our gratitude to the Italian authorities."

Schäfer and other officials at the press conference also came under pressure to answer how Amri may have been able to move between Berlin and Milan without detection, but said they were unable to provide information at this stage.

Posted at

Italy's Interior Minister Marco Minniti has told a press conference in Rome that the man killed in the early-morning shootout outside Milan's Sesto San Giovanni station is Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri.

"The person who was killed, there is no doubt that he is Anis Amri," Minniti said.

He confirmed that Amri opened fire on police after being stopped by two officers during a routine check after being asked for ID papers. Minniti identified the police officer shot and hospitalized in the incident as Christian Movio.

He thanked Movio and his colleague "on behalf of the entire ministry and entire Italian police force."

"These two young men who were operating this squad, we find them to be extraordinary: very young, and they were simply carrying out their duty. They have rendered an extraordinary service to the country. … I can say to those young people that Italy is very grateful to them," Minniti said.

Posted at

Senior police officer confirms to BuzzFeed News that man killed in Milan shootout is Berlin suspect Anis Amri

Anis Amri, the suspect in Monday's Berlin market attack that killed 12 people, has been killed in a shootout by police in the Italian city of Milan. A senior police official in Rome told BuzzFeed News Amri had arrived in Italy by boat in 2011, had been rejected for asylum, and was once jailed in Sicily for arson.

Posted at

Italian police confirm shootout in Milan, policeman recovering in hospital

1. L’aggressore di Milano fermato da volante del commissariato Sesto San Giovanni durante un normale servizio di co… https://t.co/xJA3UaWgxH

Italian state police have confirmed the shootout believed to involve Anis Amri — the main suspect in the Berlin truck attack — took place at 3 a.m. local time near Milan's Sesto San Giovanni station following a routine check.

The man took a gun out of his backpack and shot at police officers.

One of the officers involved is recovering in hospital.

Posted at

Anis Amri, the main suspect in Monday's Berlin market attack, has reportedly been shot dead during a shootout with police early Friday morning, according to Italian media.

The ANSA news agency, citing various investigative sources, reported that the shootout began when the suspect pulled a gun out after being asked by police to show documents during a routine check.

Police then drew their guns on the man, who has not yet been officially identified as he did not have documents on his person.

Posted at

Two brothers were arrested in Duisburg, Germany, on suspicion of plotting an attack on a shopping center, just days after an attack at a Christmas market in Berlin left 12 people dead.

The brothers, born in Kosovo, were allegedly planning to target CentrO in Oberhausen, a shopping mall that would have likely been filled with Christmas shoppers.

According to the statement from police, investigators are still looking into how far the two men were into the planning stages and whether any other people were involved.

The police statement did not say if there was any link between the brothers' alleged plot and the Berlin attack.

Germany is already at a heightened state of alert after the Monday night attack in Berlin. Police are still searching for Anis Amri, a Tunisian man suspected of being the driver of the large transport truck that plowed into the crowd.

Police said officers in uniform and civilian clothes had already been deployed to Christmas markets and shopping centers as a precaution.

The identities of the brothers were not immediately released, but they were described as being 28 and 31 years old.

—Salvador Hernnadez

Posted at

German officials on Thursday said fingerprints are among the growing amount of evidence tying market attack suspect Anis Amri to the truck that plowed through a crowd, killing 12.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters that the evidence has led investigators to believe there is a "high probability" Amri was the driver in the Monday night attack.

"Fingerprints were found in the cab, and there are other, additional indications that suggest this," he told reporters, according to the Associated Press. "It is all the more important that the search is successful as soon as possible."

Authorities raided properties in Berlin and the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as a bus in the southwestern city of Heilbronn, as they acted on tips and tried to gather information on Amri's history and current whereabouts.

Berlin's state Health Ministry on Thursday also raised the number of injured in the attack to 56, with 12 people still being treated for severe injuries, some in critical condition.

—Jason Wells

Posted at

Dash cam video obtained by the German newspaper, Bild, shows the moment the truck drives into the Berlin Christmas market.

The short video appears to have been taken by a camera mounted on the dash of a car stopped at an intersection. The large truck is then seen speeding through two large Christmas trees before ramming into the market.

Seconds later, people are seen running away from the area.

—Salvador Hernandez

Posted at

Police launched a massive manhunt Wednesday for Anis Amri, a man they said is a suspect in the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market.

Amri is a 23-year-old Tunisian man who in the past has used multiple aliases and claimed various nationalities.

Amri arrived in Germany in July 2015, AFP reported. His bid for asylum was rejected in June, and papers related to the application were reportedly found at the scene of the attack.

Amri was not deported due to hold ups with his paperwork, which according to AFP just arrived in Tunisia Wednesday.

Read more here.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Posted at

Asked by reporters Wednesday about the recent violence in Berlin and Turkey, President-elect Donald Trump called it "terrible."

"What's going on is terrible, terrible," he said. "In fact, we have intelligence here right now, but what's going on is terrible. Terrible. Terrible."

In response to a question on whether Trump might re-evaluate potentially creating a Muslim registry, or a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States, he told reporters, "You know my plans."

"All along, I've been proven to be right, 100% correct," he said. "What's happening is disgraceful."

Trump added that he has not spoken to President Obama about the attacks.

Trump was asked about his office's statement on the attack in Berlin being an attack against Christians and how this might affect relations with Muslims.

"It's an attack on humanity," Trump said. "That's what it is, an attack on humanity, and it's got to be stopped."

— Mike Hayes

Posted at

German prosecutors and police are offering a reward of up to €100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Anis Amri, the main suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack.

On their website, prosecutors said the 23-year-old speaks broken German. (Amri is set to turn 24 on Thursday.)

The suspect was wearing dark clothes, bright shoes, and a white scarf at the time of the attack, authorities said.

Posted at

A wanted notice for Anis Amri, a man who German officials identified as the new suspect in the Berlin truck attack, said he has used six different aliases and three nationalities, the Associated Press reported.

German news outlet Bild also reported he has several passports, and that papers with Amri's name were found under the driver's seat.

The wanted notice obtained by the AP said to consider Amri armed and dangerous.

Der Spiegel reported that the suspect was on the German authorities' radar for some time, and that an undercover investigation into him on Feb. 5 said he had "suspected ties" with ISIS and recommended "intensive monitoring of the subject."

Der Spiegel added that in Berlin officials knew him as Ahmad Z. or as Mohamed H. from Egypt. He's also claimed to be from Lebanon.

Posted at

German state interior minister says new Berlin suspect had asylum claim refused

Statement von #NRW Innenminister Jäger aus aktuellem Anlass https://t.co/1D6pZI2fVB

The interior minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has said the new suspect being sought over Monday's attack in Berlin had an asylum application refused.

Speaking in a press conference, Ralf Jaeger did not formally name the man, who has been unofficially identified in German media as a Tunisian named Anis Amri. Jaeger said authorities had been unable to deport him as he did not have any valid identity papers, and Tunisia had initially denied the man was a citizen of Tunisia.

A live translation provided by Sky News and published by The Guardian gives the details provided by Jaeger as follows:

It is not yet established that the suspect was part of the attack. We in North Rhine-Westphalia have been supporting the state prosecutor in his aim of finding and detaining suspects. We must not endanger the action to detain the suspect, so we can't give you any information.

I can give the following information about the suspect: Since February 2016 he has been living in Berlin. He was briefly in North Rhine-Westphalia before that. The security services have exchanged information regarding him in November. The federal police issued a warning that he was posing a danger.

In June 2016 his asylum application was rejected. He could not be deported because he did not have any valid identity papers. Tunisia initially denied that he was a citizen on Tunisia. His identity papers arrived today — I don't want to comment further on this fact.
Posted at

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has confirmed that a search for a new suspect following Monday's attack on a Berlin Christmas market is underway.

De Maiziere said a search is underway in Germany and the EU's borderless Schengen zone, according to AP.

However, he gave no further details on the suspect, and would neither confirm nor deny whether the person in question was a 23-year-old Tunisian known as Anis A., who had earlier been identified in German media.

Further unconfirmed newspaper reports have emerged surrounding the alleged suspect's background, with Suddeutsche Zeitung reporting he had been in contact with the network of Islamist ideologist Abu Walaa. The newspaper also reported that Anis A. had applied for asylum in Germany, and had received a residency permit. This has not been confirmed by authorities.

Posted at

Manhunt set to be launched for new Tunisian suspect, German media reports

BREAKING German Police are conducting nationwide manhunt for Tunisian suspect in #Berlin attack, SPIEGEL has learned https://t.co/nJTtMEuJfx

German police look set to officially launch a manhunt for a new suspect after a document identifying a Tunisian national was found in the cab of the truck which rammed into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday evening, according to multiple unconfirmed reports in local media.

Multiple outlets including Der Spiegel, Tagesschau, Berliner Morgenpost, Die Welt and Bild reported the document belonged to a 23-year-old Tunisian man identified as Anis A.

The reports suggest investigators have submitted a manhunt request to the federal prosecutor's officers, with news agency DPA citing anonymous security sources as saying an operation was "imminent" in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Posted at

ISIS claims that a "soldier of the Islamic State" is behind the attack

Through it's 'Amaq News Agency, #ISIS claimed that the vehicular attacker in #Berlin #German is a "soldier of the I… https://t.co/mUM3W8towS

Through its news arm, ISIS claimed that the attacker in Berlin is a "soldier of the Islamic State" who was "targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition," the SITE Intel Group reported. German authorities do not have a suspect in custody, after releasing a Pakistani national they had arrested because of lack of evidence.

However, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that while the crash "bears the hallmarks of previous terror attacks," intelligence officials didn't immediately have enough information to back up the claim of responsibility.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also noted that ISIS "has never shied away from claiming credit for attacks, even if it knew nothing about them in advance."

Posted at

Man arrested after the attack released after insufficient evidence

German prosecutors said the 23-year-old Pakistani refugee who was arrested after the attack was released because of lack of evidence.

Police had arrested the man, who they initially believed to be the suspected driver of the truck, about two kilometers from the crash scene after a witness followed the suspect and relayed his location to authorities.

The Federal Prosecutor said in a statement Tuesday, that the investigation did not result in an urgent grounds for suspicion against the man. The statement said that the man made extensive statements in a police hearing but denied involvement in the attack.

Authorities had earlier cast doubt if they had arrested the real culprit. They were also unable to confirm if he was the driver of the truck.

Chief prosecutor, Peter Frank, said in a press conference Tuesday, that they were considering "whether we might not have the correct results." He said the man would be held while authorities were awaiting further "results."

"We have to get used to the idea that he may not have carried out the attack," he said.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that their investigations so far were unable to prove a presence of the man in the truck during the incident.

Posted at

President Obama offered condolences and assistance on a phone call with Merkel

Obama called Merkel on Monday night to offer his condolences and those of the America people for "the horrific apparent terrorist attack," the White House said.

"The President reiterated the U.S. offer of assistance and underscored that no attack could sway our determination — and that of our German allies — to defeat terrorism in all of its forms," the White House said.

Posted at

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin lit in the colors of the German flag

Nach dem #Anschlag in #Berlin: Das Brandenburger Tor erleuchtet in Schwarz-Rot-Gold

Posted at

24 people who were injured have been released from the hospital, police said

Wer are full of hope, 24 injured people were able to leave hospital again and return to their realtives.

Posted at
Posted at

Chief prosecutor: Suspect in custody "may not" belong to "group of perpetrators"

"We need to consider whether we might not have the correct results," Peter Frank, chief prosecutor, told a press conference.

He said that while the arrested man would continue to be held, authorities were waiting for further "results" and should be in a position to know more by later afternoon, early evening. "We have to get used to the idea that he may not have carried out the attack," he said.

Frank went on to say there were now concerns that investigators "have to be open to the idea" that the attack was carried out by more than one individual, but stressed authorities were unaware if it was a single individual or a number of people acting together.

Generalbundesanwalt Peter Frank: "Wissen derzeit nicht, ob es sich um einen oder mehrere Täter handelt"

"Chief prosecutor Peter Frank: We don't know whether it is one perpetrator or a group."

Responding to a question about fears of another perpetrator out on the streets on Berlin, Holger Munch, head of Germany's criminal police office, again emphasized previous warnings over confirmation of the truck driver's identity.

"We have explained that currently we have one suspect, but we are not sure whether he is the perpetrator and we don't know if there is only one," he said. "We have not found the weapon and that leads us to being in a high state of alert and obviously our investigations are ongoing into all the various directions, in order to see if there are any other perpetrators and if that is the case to arrest them."

Posted at

Authorities say they are "unable to confirm" whether arrested man was truck driver

Berlin's chief of police, Klaus Kandt, has said his officers are "unable to confirm" if the arrested man, a 23-year-old Pakistani refugee, was the driver in the truck attack which killed 12 people Monday night.

The man, who has been named by German media but not by authorities, has denied any involvement in the attack, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière told a press conference Tuesday morning.

This was further emphasized by Kandt at a third conference that morning.

As Kandt spoke at the news conference in Berlin, German newspaper Die Welt ran unconfirmed reports that a security source had claimed authorities now believed they had detained the wrong man. According to Die Welt's story, they were told by unidentified Berlin police officers that the "wrong man" had been detained. The same source went on to allege to the newspaper that the "real culprit is still armed at large and can cause new damage."

The temporary arrested suspect denies the offense. Therefore we are particulary alert. Please be also alert. #Breitscheidplatz

Just moments after the police chief's remarks, the official Berlin police Twitter account sent out a series of tweets noting the detained suspect continued to deny any involvement in the attack, and urging Berliners to be "alert."

A second read: "Please do not even pursue suspicious observations for your own safety — we are there." It was followed by a third, which stated authorities were continuing their investigations.

For your safety! In case of suspicious observations, please don't investigate on your own - it's our job.

Posted at

Berlin's mayor expressed his sorrow over the "appalling" attack last night during a Tuesday news conference.

Michael Müller told reporters the attack was one "against our freedom, against our lives". He continued: "It could have happened to anybody. Anybody could have been the victim."

Müller praised the solidarity expressed around Europe and the world in the wake of the attack. "There is no Berlin without the peace of people living together from the various regions, various countries. It is important that we are aware of it, and we need to protect what we have."

Brandenburg Gate has been lit in colors of terror-stricken nations in recent months; tonight it will be lit in German colors - Mayor Müller

Posted at

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said on Tuesday afternoon that there is "no doubt" the Christmas market assault was an attack, and that the man arrested following the incident has denied any involvement.

De Maizière told a press conference that the truck was deliberately driven into the crowd. Some details on the suspected attacker, who has been named by a number of German media outlets, were confirmed by de Maizière.

He said the man is believed to have come from Pakistan, and that he entered Germany on Dec. 31, 2015, before arriving in Berlin in February of this year. De Maizière said the man was not on a terror suspects list but was known to police authorities. His asylum claim had not been completed.

He declined to respond to further questions around the identity of the alleged attacker, instead telling reporters more information would be provided by a briefing from prosecutors that is expected later today.

De Maizière confirmed that 12 people had died in the attack, including the individual shot in the truck, and that 48 were injured. Of the injured, 18 are in a "serious condition" in hospital, he said.

Responding to a question about the wounds of the truck passenger, de Maizière confirmed he had been shot by a pistol but said authorities had so far been unable to locate the weapon.

Finally, he said there had been no concrete claim on the attack. "There are indirect claims," de Maizière said.

"We must not allow our lifestyle to be destroyed by those that are trying to do this in such a perfidious manner. If we retreat then the enemies of freedom will have won," he said. "We must not retreat, we must not allow our lives to be determined by fear. Let us stand together."

"We mourn our freedom and we will fight for our freedom," de Maizière continued.

Posted at

The suspected Berlin Christmas market attacker is alleged to be a 23-year-old refugee from Pakistan, according to numerous unconfirmed German newspaper reports citing police and security sources.

Media outlets including Berliner Kurier, Süddeutsche, and Zeit have reported that the man is believed to have entered Germany at the beginning of the year. Die Welt also reported the man crossed into Germany, via the Balkans, on Feb. 11.

Meanwhile, a security source told Reuters the individual was a migrant, and had been living in the Tempelhof airport hangar since February when he arrived in Germany. It goes on to allege the man was known to police for minor offenses, and used several names.

A raid was carried out on the hangar at around 3 a.m. local time Tuesday morning. However, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry later confirmed this had nothing to do with the Christmas market attack.

In her news conference on Tuesday morning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it would be "repugnant" if the attacker turned out to be a refugee.

Posted at

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said authorities "have to assume" the attack on the Christmas market last night was terror-related, but urged Germans not to be "paralyzed" by fear following the attack.

Merkel, speaking at a short press conference in Berlin, went on to say it would be "repugnant" if the attacker was a refugee who had been welcomed by German authorities.

"It would be very difficult for us to learn that the human being committed this deed came to Germany to ask for refuge and asylum," she said. "It would be terrible for all the Germans who are very active day by day in helping asylum-seekers and refugees. It would be repugnant for those that are helping people that are coming to this country and asking for our help."

Merkel said she will visit the site of the attack with Berlin's mayor and the minister of the interior to pay her respects to the 12 people killed and the 48 injured. She said the entire country's thoughts were with friends and families at this time.

"We do not want to allow ourselves to be paralyzed by terror," Merkel said. "Although it might be difficult in these hours, we will find the strength to continue living."

She also went on to thank emergency services and investigative authorities that have been working through the night to help those injured and investigate the perpetrator of the assault. "It will be prosecuted with all means possible," she said.

Merkel: ‘We will find the strength to continue living life as we want to live it in Germany: in freedom, together and in openness’

Posted at

Christmas markets will remain open, Interior Ministry confirms

Weihnachtsmärkte und andere Großveranstaltungen finden mit angepassten #Sicherheitsmaßnahmen weiter statt. #Breitscheidplatz #Berlin

Germany's Interior Ministry has confirmed that Christmas markets across the country will remain open, albeit with a "heightened" security presence. There were reports of concrete barriers being moved into position at Dresden's Striezelmarkt, one of Germany's most famous Christmas markets.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière‎ said in a statement: "No matter what we have experienced in the course of the precise background and motives of the perpetrators, we must and we will not let our liberal life take."

De Maizière‎ also said all German flags will fly at half-mast.

We have increased the number of colleagues in #Berlin as a precaution. As in all federal states, they carry vest & MP. #Breitscheidplatz

Berlin's police authorities have confirmed they will increase security in the wake of the attack.

Posted at

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to speak about the suspected terror attack in under an hour.

The chancellor, who has cancelled a local election district visit, is due to address Germany at 11 a.m. local time.