Merkel: 'Particularly Repugnant' If Attacker Was Refugee

Death toll rises to 12, but now cops aren't sure they've got the right man in custody
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2016 11:54 PM CST
Updated Dec 20, 2016 6:52 AM CST
Cops: Berlin Market Attack Was Deliberate Act
Firefighters look at a toppled Christmas tree after a truck ran into a crowded Christmas market and killed several people in Berlin, Germany, on Monday.   (Michael Sohn)

Police said Tuesday that the driver who rammed a truck into a crowded Christmas market in the heart of the German capital, killing at least 12 people and injuring nearly 50, did so intentionally and that they are investigating a suspected terror attack, the AP reports. The truck struck the popular Christmas market filled with tourists and locals outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church near Berlin's Zoo station late Monday. On Tuesday, conflicting reports emerged about the suspected driver, and whether police had the right man. The latest:

  • The BBC reports that the suspect in custody has been identified in German media reports as a 23-year-old Pakistani man named "Naved B" who entered Germany as a refugee in December 2015. After fleeing the scene of the attack on foot, he was captured more than a mile away. Police say a witness followed him. He has reportedly denied involvement.

  • But according to German newspaper Die Welt's unnamed senior security sources, he's not the right guy. Reuters has this translation: "We have the wrong man ... the true perpetrator is still armed, at large and can cause fresh damage."
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it would be "particularly repugnant" if the attacker came to the country as a refugee, the Guardian reports. "We have to assume we are dealing with a terrorist attack," she said in a statement, promising that the perpetrators would be severely punished.
  • Police say that an injured Polish man found in the truck died as he was being treated for his wounds. He is believed to have been the original driver of the truck, whose owner, his cousin, told authorities the truck must have been hijacked, the AP reports.
  • Donald Trump blamed the attack on "Islamist terrorists," the Independent reports. "ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad," he said. "These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the Earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners."
  • American witness Shandana Durrani tells CNN that she was in the market when the truck started mowing down people as they were "running, scurrying, screaming" just 20 feet in front of her. "I heard some popping and thought maybe there was a guy with a gun," she says. "People just started running and dropping their gluehwein."
(Read more Germany stories.)

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