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Truck ‘attack’ against Christmas market kills 12 in Germany

The suspect “intentionally” rammed into the Berlin Christmas market. Police speaks of “terrorist attack”. Condolences offered from around the world. 

SOURCES Deutsche Welle, Evangelical Focus AUTHOR Evangelical Focus BERLIN 20 DECEMBER 2016 10:21 h GMT+1
The truck used in the suspected attack, on Tuesday morning. / Reuters

At least 12 people died and 48 others were injured when a truck plowed into a Christmas market near the iconic Kaiser Willhelm Memorial Church on Monday evening.



The man who was thought to be the suspect of the attack was released in the afternoon on Tuesday.



On Monday evening, special forces stormed a hangar at Berlin's Tempelhof airport where they believed the suspect had been living in a shelter before the attack.





The Scania-brand truck rammed up to 80 meters (260 feet) into the Christmas market along the Kurfürstendamm shopping mile, at around 8:30 p.m. local time as locals and tourists gathered to enjoy the evening.





 



The location of the Berlin Christmas market. / Deutsche Welle



German President Joachim Gauck called the truck crash "a terrible evening for Berlin and our country".



"I am deeply shaken about the horrible news of what occurred at the memorial church in Berlin", Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement.



 



REACTIONS IN FRANCE



The French city of Nice suffered a similar attack in July, were 84 lost their lives. Its Mayor, Philippe Pradal, said:







French President Francois Hollande said: “The French share in the mourning of the Germans in the face of this tragedy that has hit all of Europe”.



 



JUNCKER: CHRISTMAS “UNITES MANY WITH PEACE”



European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said his thoughts were with the families of the victims, saying the news was made even more devastating "because they had gathered there to celebrate the pre-Christmas season, which unites many with peace”.



Italian Prime Minister Bernard Gentiloni on Twitter: “Grief for the Christmas massacre in Berlin, solidarity with Angela Merkel and all of the German people”.



 



One of the images shared on social media. / Twitter



People on the social media offered their condolences using the hashtag #PrayforBerlin and “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”).



 



CHRISTMAS MARKETS OFFENSIVE FOR MUSLIMS?



Christmas markets have a long history in Germany dating back to the Middle Ages. 



Some weeks ago, the President of the Muslim Council of Germany said Muslims in the country are “not at all” offended by Christmas celebrations. “Actually, [Christmas] reminds Muslims about Jesus, who has an honourable position in Islam”, Aiman Mazyek said.



Mazyek said Muslims “it is not right that Muslims are used as an argument to change these things”, referring to efforts made by secularists to rename Christmas markets and other public Christian celebrations.



Read reactions by Christians to the attack.



General view of the market in Berlin, after the tragedy. / AFP


 


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