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Truck smashes through Christmas market in Berlin, kills 12

Truck smashes through Christmas market in Berlin, kills 12

Updated: 8:10 p.m. E.T. 

A truck rammed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin Monday night, killing at least 12 people and injuring 48 more, Berlin police confirmed.

Berlin’s state interior minister said it was still unclear whether the crash was an accident or a planned terrorist attack, according to Reuters, but reports from local media indicate that police at the scene are investigating the incident as the latter.

Berlin police urged caution and asked people not to “spread rumors” as they investigated the nature of the crash, and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said he wasn’t yet ready to call it an “attack,” though he conceded “a lot points to that.”

Nevertheless, politicians from around the world soon weighed in. Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats party, told local media that while the situation was ongoing and many questions remained, “indications” pointed to a “deliberate attack.” Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said he was “pained” by the incident. 

The White House weighed in, condemning “what appears to have been a terrorist attack,” while President-elect Donald Trump issued a statement linking “Islamist terrorists” to the incident, and vowing to eradicate them “from the face of the earth.” 

Image of the crashed truck, which jumped a curb before plowing into a crowd of shoppers at a Christmas market in central Berlin. The crash killed nine people and injured more than 50.(Reuters/ Fabrizio Bensch)

Reports of another runaway truck in a crowded public space immediately brought to mind last summer’s Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, France, where a lone attacker drove a speeding truck into a crowd of revelers, killing 86. The Islamic State group later took credit for the attack. 

Reuters reports that German police arrested a “suspicious” person near the crash believed to be the driver. Meanwhile, Berlin police said that the passenger in the truck’s cabin died “on the spot” in the crash.

Police were requesting that all Berliners stay home, so that streets could remain clear for emergency rescue routes, and Facebook turned on its “safety check” feature to allow nearby users to let their friends and family know they are safe.

This story is developing.

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