Berlin christmas attack update | driver still on the run

Members of German federal police Bundespolizei demonstrate their skills during a presentation of the new unit for arrests and securing evidence (BFE) in Ahrensfelde near Berlin, Germany December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke - RTX1YYWL
  • By Harpreet Patel

Berlin authorities admit that potentially neither the suspect they killed nor the man in custody were the driver

The HGV attack which injured dozens with a current death toll of 12 that shocked the festive atmosphere of a christmas market in the German capital, Berlin have seen new developments. (Read original story)

After a heavy good vehicle drove into a christmas market and the festive crowd in Berlin leaving dozens injured and 12 dead, German police confirmed that one suspect had been killed at the scene and another arrested in close proximity.

The man in custody, is said to be of Pakistani origins and was staying in an asylum centre for economic migrants.

It is said that the suspect arrived in Berlin in December 2015 seeking asylum on economic grounds.

However, officials have admitted that the suspect who denies any involvement with the attack may not actually be one of the perpetrators at all and they fear the real driver may still be on the run.

Berlin’s chief of police, Klaus Kandt said in a press statement: “It is the case that we may have a dangerous criminal in the area and that of course makes the public nervous. Of course we are boosting security measures. Heightened vigilance is also needed right now.” 

Prosecutors have also said they are unsure as to whether or not they even have the right man in custody, but insisted he may still be part of a larger group connected to the attack, something the suspect strongly denies.

“We are open to the idea that he [The man in custody] could possibly not have been the attacker.”

The gun used to shoot the Polish driver, who’s HGV was used in the attack has not been recovered by the police. The original driver’s body was found in the cab of the vehicle. The driver, 37 year old Lukasz Urban was the cousin of the owner of the trucking company who operated the HGV. Urban was found stabbed and shot in the cab of the vehicle by Berlin police.

Six of the 12 confirmed fatalities have so far been identified as German citizens with the remaining six yet to be identified.

48 more people were also injured in the attack, 18 of which remain in a serious/critical condition.

Witnesses have described the moment when the HGV came smashing through wooden huts serving food and drinks running over crowds of people as it did so.

One eye witness estimated that the vehicle was travelling at around 40 mph when it made impact with the first hut.

Security at dozens of sites across Berlin and the UK cities, Manchester and London have been increased over fears of planned follow up attacks. Concrete posts have been installed around christmas markets to prevent any such attacks in the future.


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H.Patel@therinternational.org.uk