Tuesday, 20 December 2016
'ISIS terrorist' who killed 12 after hijacking HGV, murdering driver and ploughing into Berlin Christmas market is 'a Pakistani asylum seeker, 23, who has only been in Germany for few months'
The terrorist driver of a hijacked 25-tonne lorry to murder 12 people and injure 48 more at a Berlin Christmas market is a Pakistani asylum seeker who has only been in Germany for months and was already known to police because of petty crime, it was revealed today.
The masked 23-year-old named as Naved B, who entered the country under a false name on New Year's Eve 2015, turned off the truck's lights before mounting the pavement at 40mph and ploughing through crowds of people enjoying mulled wine after work.
The vehicle laden with steel cargo ripped through stalls and shoppers at 7pm on Breitscheidplatz Square, outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the German capital's main shopping area.
Witnesses said victims were sent flying like bowling pins as the killer driver steered at them before jumping out of the cab and racing from the scene.
Police managed to take the masked terror suspect alive at a nearby zoo after a 'hero' witness in the Christmas market gave chase on foot while giving officers second-by-second updates on his phone. Naved B is in a Berlin police station today.
Police confirmed the lorry's original Polish driver, who was transporting steel beams into Germany, was last heard from at around 4pm yesterday and was found shot dead in the cab in an apparent murder hijacking.
German officials have said that the driver is a Pakistani national who entered Germany via the Balkans on December 31 and February as an asylum seeker. He was believed to be living in a refugee camp at Berlin's Tempelhof airport, which was raided by an elite group of armed anti-terror police at 4am this morning.
The terror attack could be a political disaster for Angela Merkel, who will seek a historic fourth term as German Chancellor next year. The German leader has staked much of her political capital in opening up Germany's doors to refugees and in doing so divided a reunited land.
In a further hammer blow, security sources have suggested that police in Berlin were warned that an attack on a Christmas market could be imminent. ISIS has praised the Berlin attack and urged jihadis to carry out more in Europe.
First picture: The masked 23-year-old named as Naved B, who entered the country under a false name on New Year's Eve 2015, is shown here being bundled into a police van after his arrest with his head covered.
Carnage: The lorry used to kill a dozen people in Berlin last night was towed away from the scene as a 23-year-old asylum seeker was being interrogated.
Trail of destruction: This is the path taken by the killer truck driver - and shows how it mounted a narrow strip of pavement around 80metres in length with the aim of killing as many people as possible. The white powder is believed to show where the bodies fell.
Horrific: The smashed front of the lorry used to kill people enjoying the run-up to Christmas. A wreath from one of the stalls was longed in its destroyed windscreen.
Tragedy: Inside the cab was the Polish driver who the lorry was hijacked from - he may have been murdered before the crash.
Aftermath: New photographs have emerged from the scene showing how the road around the lorry was strewn with bodies, including a body by the cab.
Victim: A body dragged under the lorry's wheels lies covered with a gold blanket this morning at the rear of the stolen lorry.
Overhead: This is a clear view of the path the lorry took through the now-destroyed Christmas market in central Berlin.
Tributes: Flowers, candles and messages are being left at the scene of the atrocity today as German comes to terms with the terror attack.
Angela Merkel has faced a furious backlash over her open-doors policy on immigration after a refugee launched a deadly lorry attack on a Christmas market in the heart of Berlin.
The suspected radical Islamic attacker - a bogus asylum seeker who came to the country in February under a false name - murdered 12 and injured dozens gathered at the market last night.
German chancellor Merkel has come under huge political pressure for allowing nearly a million people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa to arrive in the country this year and last.
And last night she faced anger from the far-right anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party with prominent member Marcus Pretzell tweeting: 'When will the German state of law strike back? When will this cursed hypocrisy finally stop? These are Merkel's dead! (hash)Nice (hash)Berlin.'
The record influx of migrants in the last 12 months has hit Merkel's popularity ratings and boosted support for the AfD with the 62-year-old having recently announced her intention to stand for re-election again next year.
The German leader has staked much of her political capital in opening up Germany's doors to refugees and in doing so divided a reunited land.
Last night Merkel reacted quickly to the atrocity, with spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeting: 'We mourn the dead and hope that the many people injured can be helped.'
'Perhaps he wanted to seek shelter in the dark', said police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel, adding that the police were kept informed of his movements by the man tailing him from a 'safe distance.'
During the pursuit he stayed on the line permanently to emergency services, updating them every few seconds where the killer was heading. He was captured near the Victory Column - close to the city's zoo - by officers in a passing patrol car.
Police spokesman Wenzel added: 'With the help of this witness it was possible to capture the suspect. 'This kind of civic courage gives us courage too .'
The Polish lorry driver whose truck was used in the Christmas market massacre was shot, according to the interior minister of the state of Brandenburg Karl-Heinz Schröter.
Naved B is believed to have entered the country on New Year's Eve last year. He is understood to have been arrested several times since them fro petty crime.
Security sources say he came from Pakistan and crossed over into the German southern border town of Passau from Austria, having travelled through the Balkans with thousands of other refugees.
He then made his way to the German capital and stayed in emergency accommodation in at the former Tempelhof Airport before ploughing the juggernaut into the crowded market killing 12 and 48 injured.
Formal identification of the suspect remains difficult as he used several different IDs.
As German police, the White House and Germany's top security official indicated the incident was likely terror related, there was a chilling echo of the deadly terror attack in the French city of Nice in July. It also came just one hour after the Russian ambassador was shot dead in Ankara.
The harrowing incident also comes amid repeated warnings from various security agencies that ISIS planned to wreak havoc on European countries during the festive season, specifically threatening Christmas markets.
The usually merry streets became scenes of chaos, with people being pulled from under the flattened wooden stalls and others ferried off in ambulances, some tragically under white sheets.
The Die Welt newspaper said that German intelligence had been warning city authorities for the past week of a possible attack on a Christmas market.
Germany's justice minister says federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases, had taken over the investigation.
Police used Twitter to urge locals to stay in their homes, to 'check suspicious objects' and encouraged people to use a Facebook safety check loved ones were safe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is 'mourning the dead', while The White House said: 'The United States condemns in the strongest terms what appears to have been a terrorist attack on a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany, which has killed and wounded dozens.'
Murderous: The terror suspect is believed to have shot dead the Polish driver of the truck before using it as a weapon hours later.
Distressing: The area around the lorry was strewn with wreaths, garlands and even baubles torn from market stalls.
Investigation: The lorry was given a police escort today as it was taken away for forensic examination.
Damage: The truck was followed by its container, which housed steel being taken into Germany by a Polish driver.
Cold-blooded: The terror attack has shocked the world - and these photos show how the emergency services fought to save the injured.
Horror: MailOnline had muzzed the body of one victim - the man was left lying under one of the wheels in the terror attack.
The Polish owner of the lorry confirmed his driver was missing.
Speaking on Polish news channel TVN24, the owner of the haulage firm Ariel Zurawski said his relative would not have committed an act of terror: 'I can say hand on heart that the man who drove into those people in the centre of Berlin was not my driver.
'This is my cousin. I've known him since I was born. I can vouch for him.
'My scenario is that they did something to the driver – they hijacked this vehicle because it was practically in the centre of Berlin and they had a good vehicle with which they could do what they did'.
Alarm bells started ringing for the Polish haulage company when the lorry's GPS showed the vehicle was being driven like a ‘beginner’.
The readings appear to suggest the lorry was hijacked between 3pm and 4pm, according to Luke Wasik, from the transport firm.
At 3.19pm and 3.44pm failed attempts to start the engine were recorded.
The lorry was then driven in short distances towards the Christmas market before 5pm and then again, just after 5.30pm.
During these short journeys the GPS showed that the engine appeared to be 'choking' - so the company tried to contact the driver to find out what was happening. However, no-one answered the calls.
Mr Wasik told Polish website WP Money: 'It looks as if someone was trying to learn how to drive this. He had problems with its operation.'
The lorry was driven towards the square at 7.34pm.The final GPS reading was at 8pm, when the vehicle turned off its headlights and ploughed through the market, forcefully.
A British man and his partner were 'just a few metres' from being hit by the lorry. He described the horrific scenes afterwards, in which the couple saw a child lying under the truck.
He told Ruptly TV: 'The truck just came in. It did not appear to be stopping. It just missed us by a few metres. I looked to Sam to see if she was okay and then almost immediately the truck had gone past us. We tried to see who was injured.
'There were two people who seemed to be okay - one was bleeding a little. I helped some people lift the side of one of the stalls so that somebody could be dragged from underneath and clear some of the wood out of the way.
'There were children in the market. I didn't see, but my girlfriend saw a child under the truck afterwards. I saw about 15 or 20 people injured - some were moving and some were not moving. Others had bad blood on them.'
BERLIN TERROR ATTACK: A 23-year-old asylum seeker from Pakistan who arrived in Germany months ago is in custody today after using a hijacked lorry to plough through this Berlin Christmas market killing 12 and injuring 48 others.
The vehicle left a trail of devastation in its wake, in a chilling echo of the deadly terror attack in the French city of Nice in July - and comes just one hour after the Russian ambassador was shot dead in Ankara.
The death toll, which has risen from nine, was confirmed by Berlin Police on Twitter. The force said 48 people who were injured - some of them seriously - have been taken to hospital.
At least 12 people have been killed and around 48 injured after a lorry ploughed through a crowd of shoppers at a busy Christmas market in Berlin.
There were harrowing scenes on Monday evening in Berlin, after several people lost their lives just days before Christmas.
The vehicle mounted the pavement before tearing through stalls and shoppers in the market on Breitscheidplatz Square, outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the German capital's main shopping area.
British tourist Mike Fox, from Birmingham, said the large truck missed him by about three meters as it drove into the market, tearing through tables and wooden stands.
'It was definitely deliberate,' he said.
Mr Fox said he helped people who appeared to have broken limbs, and said others were trapped under Christmas stands, adding: 'We were in the market, outside the cathedral and we had just had mulled wine then as we were leaving the large truck came through.
Just weeks ago, US tourists were warned to be on high alert if visiting traditional markets in Europe due to a heightened terror threat.
The US State Department issued the advice for citizens travelling to the continent during the holiday season.
The warning came after it was revealed ISIS encouraged lone jihadis to use trucks as weapons to target large-scale events.
'It went just past me, past my girlfriend. I think it missed me by three metres, missed her by five. It came in through the entrance, hit the sides of the barriers and then carried on past us.
'You do what you can to help who you can, really. It happened so fast that there was nothing we could do to stop it - if we'd tried to stop it we would have been crushed.'
Emma Rushton from Rugby in Warwickshire, saw the lorry rush past her at speed and said it could not have been an accident.
She told Sky News she only missed being caught in the chaos because she had climbed up some steps to take a seat, adding: 'The stall that we bought our mulled wine from was completely crushed. People were tearing off wooden panels to get out.
'It was not an accident. It was going 40mph, it was in the middle of the market. There was no way that it could have come off the road and it showed no signs of slowing down.'
'I heard a big noise and then I moved on the Christmas market and saw much chaos...many injured people,' Jan Hollitzer, deputy editor in chief of Berliner Morgenpost, told CNN. 'It was really traumatic.'
Richard Clarkson, from Brighton, told the Irish Independent he was at the nearby Irish Bar with friends when the incident happened.
As news of the incident spread globally, White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the United States condemned it as an apparent terror attack.
Bystanders said the crash 'could not have been an accident' as the articulated lorry sped past them and into the crowd.
Police detectives climbed over the debris to search the truck, as investigators worked through the night to establish what had happened.
A number of British tourists were among those who witnessed the appalling crash - which happened despite authorities being warned of a possible attack.
The Die Welt newspaper said that German intelligence had been warning city authorities for the past week of a possible attack on a Christmas market.
Police in Berlin kept members of the public updated, tweeting the truck may have been stolen and was carrying steel beams - making it even more deadly as it careered through the crowd
World leaders have united in the aftermath of the tragedy, with Boris Johnson and Francois Hollande sending their condolences to
Brighton resident Mr Clarkson said: 'I just walked out and I saw the truck, the windscreen was broken, I didn't see any bodies they were very quick to cover them up I think.
'The word terrorist is being thrown around a lot at the moment and people seem scared.'
Katarzyna Goebel - originally from Poland but who now lives in Berlin - was drinking wine at the market when the hijacked truck ploughed into the crowd.
She said: 'I was just a few metres away, drinking wine when I heard a noise and that's when I saw the truck driving into the market.
'Some people screamed but a lot of people were saying it was a coincidence and we should stay calm.
'I was at that exact stall just a few minutes before the truck appeared. It was the most terrifying moment of my life'.
One eye witness said the lorry had no lights on when it smashed into the market.
He said: 'He just drove onto the square from the Kant street. That had to have been intentional, because his lights were not switched on. And then I just heard this loud bang and hysterical screaming.'
Australian Trisha O'Neill told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was only metres from where the truck smashed into the crowded market.
'I just saw this huge black truck speeding through the markets crushing so many people and then all the lights went out and everything was destroyed.
'I could hear screaming and then we all froze. Then suddenly people started to move and lift all the wreckage off people, trying to help whoever was there.'
O'Neill said there was 'blood and bodies everywhere'.
An eyewitness said: 'I just saw this huge black truck speeding through the markets crushing so many people and then all the lights went out and everything was destroyed'.
The 25-tonne vehicle left a path of devastation as it tore through the usually merry festive market .
One eye witness said the lorry had no lights on when it smashed into the market, adding He said: 'He just drove onto the square. That had to have been intentional, because his lights were not switched on'.
Carnage: There was absolute carnage in Berlin as the festive market turned into a harrowing and tragic scene.
Federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases, have taken over the investigation according to justice minister Heiko Maas, who said in a tweet 'we are mourning with the relatives' of the victims.
The vehicle mounted the pavement before speeding through a crowd of shoppers, tearing through stalls as it travelled the length of the market.
Aerial shots from the scene show the devastating aftermath at the crash scene and debris around the truck.
Germany's justice minister says that federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases, were taking over the investigation.
German intelligence had apparently been warning city authorities for the past week of a possible attack on a Christmas market.
There are dozens of ambulances and fire engines at the scene as they work to recover bodies and help those injured.
The truck travelled for some 80 feet through the market - crashing through market stalls and innocent bystanders.
Ambulances line the streets as rescue workers treat those at the scene and try to save those critically injured.
An injured man is pushed to an ambulance at the site of an accident as scores of others are treated at the scene.
The vehicle sped through a crowd of shoppers at the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz Square near the Kurfuerstendamm Avenue in west Berlin.
Police subsequently said 12 people had been killed and one person has been detained over the incident - which comes less than a week before Christmas.
Ambulances and police rushed to the area after the driver drove up the pavement of the market in a central square popular with tourists, in scenes reminiscent of the deadly truck attack in the French city of Nice in July.
The heavy goods vehicle can be seen clearly damaged - and the driver was later apprehended at the city zoo.
Police stand outside a tent near the Christmas market in Berlin as those injured in the devastating crash are treated.
Armed police are standing guard at the entrance to the market and around Berlin as security is tightened.
Several people have died while dozens have been injured as police investigate the alleged attack at a market outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
Police, fire crews and paramedics raced to the scene of the incident in Berlin as a rescue effort got underway.
The truck ran into the market outside the landmark Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church around 7pm on Monday evening.
Police had said the first indications from the investigation suggested the truck crash was a terror attack.
The horrific incident has taken place at a site popular among tourists - with many Brits at the scene
Germany has not in recent years suffered a large-scale attack from Islamist militants like those seen in neighbouring Belgium and France.
The incident evoked memories of an attack in France in July when Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, drove a 19-tonne truck along the beach front, mowing down people who had gathered to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day, killing 86 people.
The attack was claimed by Islamic State.
But it was shaken by two smaller attacks in Bavaria over the summer, one on a train near Wuerzburg and another at a music festival in Ansbach that wounded 20 people.
Both were claimed by Islamic State.
And government officials have said the country, which accepted nearly 900,000 migrants last year, many from the war-torn Middle East, lies in the 'crosshairs of terrorism.'
In mid-October, police arrested a Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bomb attack on an airport in Berlin.
The 22-year-old man committed suicide in prison shortly after his arrest.
Only last week it was revealed that a 12-year-old boy tried to bomb the Christmas market in the town of Ludwigshafen with a nail bomb - twice.
The boy, of Iraqi-German parents, was radicalised only recently and is now in the care of the local youth authorities.
FEBRUARY 27: Policeman stabbed -
A 16-year-old German-Moroccan girl stabs a police officer in the neck with a kitchen knife, wounding him badly, an assault allegedly 'ordered' by the IS but which was not claimed by the group.
The teenager attacks the policeman during a routine check at Hanover train station in northern Germany, before being overpowered by another officer.
JULY 18: Train attack -
A 17-year-old asylum seeker, wielding an axe and a knife, attacks passengers on a Bavarian train. The assailant, who is believed to be Afghan, injures five people, four of them tourists from Hong Kong.
He is shot dead by police. The IS group releases a video purportedly featuring the attacker announcing he would carry out an 'operation' in Germany, and presenting himself as a 'soldier of the caliphate'.
JULY 22: Mall shooting -
David Ali Sonboly, 18, shoots dead nine people at a Munich shopping mall before turning the gun on himself, having spent a year planning the rampage.
Police say the German-Iranian was 'obsessed' with mass murderers like Norwegian right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the IS group.
JULY 24: Suicide blast -
A 27-year-old failed Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up near an open-air music festival in the southern city of Ansbach, wounding 15 others.
The Bavarian interior minister says the man had 'pledged allegiance' to IS, while the jihadist-linked Amaq news agency says he is a 'soldier' of the group.
The asylum seeker, who was due to be deported to Bulgaria, had received treatment at a psychiatric hospital and was reported to have suicidal tendencies.
The incident has happened on Monday evening in a busy Christmas market in Berlin, Germany.
Medics are furiously working to treat those injured at the scene, after the truck caused carnage and left sheer carnage behind it.
Truck that ploughed through Berlin Christmas market was STOLEN from a construction site, police reveal , The truck that killed 12 people and injured 50 as it careered through a Christmas market in Berlin had been stolen from a construction site, police have revealed.
The suspect thought to have been driving - believed to be an asylum seeker - was arrested shortly after the tragedy at a nearby zoo, while another unidentified man was found dead in the cab.
The arrest fuels fears for the Polish man who was registered as the driver, as his firm's owner said he had 'total confidence' he was not behind the wheel during the Nice-style massacre this afternoon.
The boss, Ariel Zielinski, who is also the driver's cousin, said they last spoke at midday but the man's wife had been unable to reach him at 4pm - hours before the incident, which eyewitnesses claim was deliberate.
Police in Berlin have now confirmed that the truck was Polish and stolen from a construction site, but have refused to release the identity or the nationality of the man found dead inside.
But there has been speculation that the Polish man was the one found dead in the truck on Breitscheidplatz Square, outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a busy shopping area in west Berlin.
The Scania-made lorry is owned by company Arial Zurawski, which is based in Gryfino in northwest Poland, and was fully laden with steel, making the heavy lorry even more deadly.
Company owner Mr Zielinski told local news channel TVN24 today: 'The truck was coming back from Italy and was in Berlin to unload his cargo in the morning.
'I spoke to him around noon and everything was ok. His wife then tried to call him at about 4pm but there was no answer. She couldn't get hold of him.'
He added: 'I can say hand on heart that the man who drove into those people in the centre of Berlin was not my driver.
'This is my cousin. I've known him since I was born. My scenario is that they did something to the driver – they hijacked this vehicle because it was practically in the centre of Berlin and they had a good vehicle with which they could do what they did.
'It wasn't my driver, the one that was driving it. They did something to my driver, God forbid, something serious. It looks like that.'
Mr Zielinski is now being questioned by Polish police, according to local media.
The arrest fuels fears for the Polish man who was registered as the driver, as his firm's owner said he had 'total confidence' he was not behind the wheel during the Nice-style massacre.
The destroyed windscreen of a polish truck is seen following the fatal crash which left scores of people dead and injured.
Police said on Twitter that they had taken one suspect into custody and another passenger from the truck had died as it crashed into people gathered around wooden huts at the foot of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church.
Rescue workers gather outside a tent in the area as they continued to treat victims through the night.
The truck that killed 12 people and injured 50 as it careered through a Christmas market in Berlin had been stolen from a construction site, police have revealed.
Forensic teams worked through the night to determine exactly what had happened, as the death toll continued to rise.
More shoppers were thought to be have been trapped beneath the vehicle (pictured) as it crashed through stalls
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