German police unsure suspect was in lorry

berlin-truck-attackThe German authorities say they cannot be sure if a man in custody was behind Monday’s lorry attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people.

“We have to entertain the theory that the detainee might possibly not have been the perpetrator,” federal prosecutor Peter Frank told reporters.

The style of attack and the target suggested Islamic extremism, he said.

A vigil has been held at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, right next to the scene of the attack.

The man detained, who has denied involvement, arrived in Germany from Pakistan at the end of last year. He was captured in a park after reportedly fleeing the scene.

Before attending the vigil, German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to punish those responsible for the attack “as harshly as the law requires”.

Her open-door policy on migration, which saw 890,000 asylum seekers arrive in Germany last year, has divided the country, with critics calling it a security threat.

US President Barack Obama has called Mrs Merkel to offer his condolences and American assistance in defeating “terrorism in all of its forms”.

At about 20:14 local time (19:14 GMT) on Monday, the lorry ploughed through the popular market at Breitscheidplatz, near west Berlin’s main shopping street, the Kurfuerstendamm.

Along with the dead, 49 people were injured, 14 of them seriously. As of Tuesday afternoon, 24 of the injured had been released from hospital.

The interior ministry said Christmas markets in Berlin would remain closed on Tuesday but other markets outside of the capital would operate as normal.


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