Truck Drives Through Christmas Market in Berlin

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Yazata, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Multiple fatalities (the Berlin polizei report 9), dozens more injured. The truck was a large one, that steered from side street and accelerated into a pedestrian zone outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Church in western Berlin hosting a Christmas market.

    Unknown who the driver was. Apparently he got away in the confusion after the attack and is currently being sought. Polizei on the scene say that they are treating this as terrorism, similar to Nice.

    Edit: German media has just started reporting that two people were in the Polish registered truck, both escaped but one is now dead and the other is apparently in custody. No word yet on who these two were or what their background was.^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

    Germans are being advised to stay home and not to spread rumors.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Updated numbers are 12 dead and 48 hospitalized, some with very serious injuries.

    Apparently the guy from the truck who is dead was found already deceased in the cab of the truck. He turns out to be a Pole, the driver of the truck who left from Poland to deliver a heavy load of structural steel to Berlin. So it's starting to look like a hijack, where the hijacker stole the truck, killed the driver, drove the truck into the Christmas crowd, then (maybe) made his escape.

    The Berlin polizei have detained a suspect, but have released no information about him and apparently aren't entirely sure that he's the right guy. No doubt they and Germany's security agencies such as the Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz (BfV) are trying to learn everything they can about this individual and what his contacts have been. There are also forensic investigators combing through the truck cab, looking for evidence.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    This is so awful, thanks for the information, Yazata. I think it's important not to spread rumors indeed, because until they have all of the facts, it serves no purpose to speculate.
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Multiple German news outlets are reporting that the detained individual is a 'migrant' of unknown nationality (Pakistani or Afghan) who arrived in Germany from Pakistan in February. He has a record of petty crimes since then and little is known about him since he uses a variety of fake names. But reportedly he wasn't on terrorist watch-lists.

    Apparently after the truck plowed through the crowd, the driver jumped out and ran off towards the Tiergarten. Several witnesses pursued him into the park and pointed him out to police, who arrested him.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Apparently the individual initially detained has been released. The reason he was arrested in the first place was that witnesses saw the driver flee from the truck and pursued him into the Tiergarten park. But it seems that they lost sight of him. They described him to police in the park who arrested this guy, because he matched the description.

    The Polish truck driver showed signs of a violent struggle and had been bruised and bleeding before he was killed with a single shot to the head. What's more, the attack on the Christmas market resulted in parts of the decorations smashing through the truck windshield and appear to have injured the driver. Forensic investigation has turned up blood in the truck that didn't come from the Polish driver. So it's assumed that the terrorist who was driving was injured, but the man arrested in the park didn't have any injuries. I assume that they probably tested his blood as well and it didn't match the unknown blood in the truck. So they released the first guy.

    But in a big break in the case, careful search of the truck cab turned up some scrap of paper (a residence permit?) traceable to a particular individual who wasn't associated with the driver. This name lit up all the security agency screens and set off alarm bells, since it belonged to a young Tunisian man who had entered Germany as a 'migrant' early in 2016 after having earlier been in Italy, and who later turned out to have all kinds of radical Islamist associations, particularly to a radical preacher who has sent some 160 fighters from Germany to fight with ISIS. (And possibly to Ansar al Sharia, the Tunisian group that shot up the Bardo museum in Tunis.) The imam and his network were raided in November. Apparently this guy was arrested around that time on some kind of fake-passports charge but was released on bail pending court hearings, and quickly disappeared, moving from western Germany to Berlin and using multiple fake names. The name traced to the truck cab was somebody already squarely on the German watch-lists.

    So the German polizei have a new suspect and there's a huge manhunt for him, not only in Germany but in all of Europe's Schengen free-movement area.

    If the paper found in the truck was a residence permit, that makes me a little skeptical, since how likely would the terrorist have been to lose his ID? That's just a little too perfect. There's a chance that if the terrorist was a professional (as it increasingly seems he was) it was somebody else's ID, tossed out as a red-herring to distract the police.

    But when they catch this new guy, they can see if his blood matches the blood sample recovered from the truck. The blood is probably their strongest evidence. (Too bad the Germans don't take DNA samples of all entering 'migrants' and from all criminals. If they did, they could identify the driver much more easily.)
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Anis Amri, the suspected Berlin truck terrorist is dead. He was stopped by a couple of Italian police officers while walking on foot in Milan at three in the morning and asked for ID. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a small caliber pistol and immediately shot one of the police officers. The other police officer shot and killed him. His fingerprints verify that he is in fact Amri.

    The Italian police officer who was shot is out of intensive care and is expected to recover.

    ISIS has been playing a video that Amri apparently recorded before the Berlin attack, pledging allegiance to ISIS.

    Police are trying to track Amri's path from Berlin to Milan over the last few days. It seems that he went from Berlin to France, then from France to Milan, at least part of that by train. It still isn't clear whether he had associates along the way hiding and helping him.

    Amri used to live in Italy, after arriving there as a 'migrant' by boat from across the Med. He served four years in an Italian prison for trying to burn down a school, then was deported. Apparently that didn't mean returning him to North Africa, it just meant his getting out of Italy. Since Angela Merkel was welcoming all the 'migrants' that Germany could get, he went there. In Germany he quickly appeared on German radar due to his Italian criminal history, his habitual use of fake names and identities, his radical Islamist connections, and a record of new crimes in Germany that included drug sales and knife fights. One of his German roommates was arrested by the security police for connections to ISIS.

    He applied for refugee asylum but that application was denied and he entered 'Duldung' status. This is a "temporary" residency status in Germany given to individuals whose request for permanent residency is denied. But Duldungen aren't expelled to their countries of origin unless the individuals have home-country passports and those originating countries will accept them back, which is rarely the case. (Many 'migrants' destroy their passports upon arriving in Europe, assuming they ever had one.) So there are something like 200,000 Duldungen in Germany, not allowed to hold German jobs, sucking up social services in shelters and sitting in legal limbo.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016

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