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An urgent manhunt is under way across Europe’s Schengen states after prosecutors identified a suspect in the truck attack on Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz Christmas market.

A warrant was issued at midnight. Details were not given but media reports say the suspect is a Tunisian man named only as Anis A., born in 1992.

The Tunisian suspect’s residence permit was found in the truck’s cabin.

The man may have been injured in a struggle with the driver, found dead in the cab. The attack claimed 12 lives in all.

Some 150 police officers are said to be involved in searches in the Emmerich area of North Rhine-Westphalia, western Germany, where the suspect’s permit was issued.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met her security cabinet to discuss the investigation into the attack.

The Schengen area covers most EU states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Image source Wikipedia

The suspect is also known to use false names, security sources told German media and Reuters.

His name was given using a German convention whereby suspects are identified by their first name and initial.

The Tunisian is reported to have traveled to Italy in 2012 and then on to Germany in 2015 where he applied for asylum and was granted temporary leave to stay in April 2016.

The suspect is said to be known to police and was briefly detained in August with fake Italian identity documents.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports that he moved within the circle of an Islamist preacher, Ahmad Abdelazziz A, known as Abu Walaa, who was arrested in November.

Broadcaster N-TV said measures were “now imminent” in North Rhine-Westphalia but there were no further details.

German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere refused to confirm or deny media reports about the man but said that officers were still investigating his residential status.

Some 49 people were also injured when the truck was driven into crowds at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market.

ISIS said one of its militants carried out the attack but offered no evidence.

Polish citizen Lukasz Urban was found dead on the passenger seat with gunshot and stab wounds.

Investigators quoted by German media say there is evidence that, despite being stabbed, Lukasz Urban wrestled him for the steering wheel.

One official quoted by Bild said it appeared from the post-mortem examination that the driver had survived up to the attack and was shot dead when the truck came to a halt. No gun has been recovered.

Ariel Zurawski, the owner of the Polish transport company, said he had been asked to identify Lukasz Urban from photographs.

Police say they are acting on hundreds of tips from the public and are examining DNA traces from the cab of the truck.

German President Joachim Gauck visited some of the injured on December 21.

Officials released the only detained suspect on December 20, saying there was no evidence to link him to the attack.

ISIS claimed the attack through its self-styled news agency, saying it was “in response to calls to target nationals of the coalition countries”.

Prosecutor Peter Frank told reporters that the style of attack and the choice of target suggested Islamic extremism.


A “probable terrorist attack” is being investigated in Germany after a man ploughed a truck into a Christmas market in the heart of Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48.

German police have detained the driver, who security sources reportedly say is an Afghan or Pakistani asylum seeker.

The man arrived in Germany in February as a refugee, the DPA news agency said.

According to the Tagesspiegel, he was known to the police for minor crimes, but not terror links.

Berlin police tweeted: “All police measures related to the suspected terrorist attack at Breitscheidplatz are progressing at full steam and with the necessary diligence.”

German politicians had avoided branding the bloodshed a terror attack in the hours immediately following, but Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told ARD television, “there are many things pointing to one”.

The Christmas market is at Breitscheidplatz, close to the Kurfuerstendamm, the main shopping street in Berlin’s west.

The crash happened in the shadow of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was damaged in a World War Two bombing raid and preserved as a symbol of peace.

The truck, which was loaded with steel beams, veered into the market at 20:14 local time,one of its busiest times. It crashed through wooden huts and stands packed with tourists and locals.

The truck driver was reportedly seized after leaving his truck and fleeing on foot.

Image source Twitter

Berlin police spokesman Winfried Wenzel told die Welt that the man ran down the street towards the Tiergarten, a large public park.

A witness followed him at a distance for more than a mile, and called the police, who quickly detained him near the Victory Column monument.

The police spokesman speculated that the driver may have wanted to “find shelter in the darkness of the park”.

According to German media, the suspect was from Afghanistan or Pakistan and had entered the country as a refugee in the past year.

Police confirmed that a passenger was found dead in the truck, and said he was a Polish national. There are fears he may have been the original driver of the vehicle, and that he was subject to a hijacking.

Ariel Zurawski, the Polish owner of the truck, confirmed that his driver was missing and had been unreachable since 16:00 on December 19.

“We don’t know what happened to him,” he told the AFP.

“He’s my cousin, I’ve known him since I was a kid. I can vouch for him.”

The truck was registered in Poland and police said it was believed to have been stolen from a building site there, the AP reports.

Both ISIS and al-Qaeda have urged their followers to use trucks as a means to attack crowds.

The US labeled the tragedy an apparent “terrorist attack” and pledged its support.

President-elect Donald Trump blamed “Islamist terrorists” for a “slaughter” of Christians in Berlin.

Donald Trump tweeted: “Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!”

At least nine people have been killed and many more injured after a truck ploughed into a busy Christmas market in the heart of Berlin, police say.

German police say they suspect it was deliberate. Video shows stalls knocked over and people lying injured.

A suspicious person has been arrested nearby, while what police describe as a passenger was found dead, police say.

The Christmas market is at Breitscheidplatz, close to the Kurfuerstendamm, the main shopping street in Berlin’s west.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has been in contact with the interior minister and the mayor of Berlin, her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, tweeted.

“We are in mourning for the dead and hope that the many injured can get help,” he added.

Image source Twitter

As emergency vehicles filled the area, Berlin police said they had “no indications of further dangerous situations in the city near #Breitscheidplatz”.

They also appealed to the public to avoid the area and stay at home.

Facebook has set up a Safety Check page for people affected to let their loved ones know they are safe.

According to the DPA news agency, p

Police believe the truck drove 250ft through the market area during the incident, which occurred at 20:14 local time.

Images of the truck show it was registered in neighboring Poland and Polish media are suggesting it may have been stolen earlier.

The Polish haulage company which uses the vehicle has reportedly been unable to get in touch with the original driver, a Polish national, since 16:00.

The Berliner Zeitung reports that police have set up a meeting point for relatives at the scene.

A photographer for the DPA news agency said that armed police were at an entrance to the nearby zoo.

The market is situated at the foot of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, which was kept as a bombed-out ruin after World War Two.

The Breitscheidplatz incident evoked memories of the truck attack on Bastille Day crowds in Nice,, France on July 14, when 86 people were killed. That attack was claimed by ISIS.