At least nine killed as lorry ploughs into Berlin shoppers at Christmas market

Emergency workers examine the lorry and a Christmas tree toppled by the impact.
Emergency workers examine the lorry and a Christmas tree toppled by the impact.

A lorry has rammed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin, killing at least nine people as it tore through tables and wooden stands.

Police said a passenger in the lorry died at the scene, and the driver was arrested nearby after the vehicle crashed into the market outside the capital’s popular market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Television footage showed a large Scania lorry with its windscreen smashed on the pavement alongside the market. A large Christmas tree with a gold star on top was toppled over nearby in the street.

Police are investigating whether the crash was an accident or an attack.

It came less than a month after the US State Department called for caution in markets and other public places, saying extremist groups including Islamic State and al Qaida were focusing “on the upcoming holiday season and associated events”.

Paramedics remove one of the injured from the scene. © PA
Paramedics remove one of the injured from the scene.

IS and al Qaida have both called on followers to use lorries in particular to attack public places.

On July 14, a lorry ploughed into a Bastille Day crowd in the southern French city of Nice, killing 86 people. IS claimed that attack, which was carried out by a Tunisian living in France.

Mike Fox, a tourist from Birmingham, said the lorry missed him by about three metres as it drove into the market.

A policeman stands guard at the Christmas market. © PA
A policeman stands guard at the Christmas market.

“It was definitely deliberate,” he said, adding that he helped people who appeared to have broken limbs, and that others were trapped under Christmas stands.

Dozens of ambulances lined the streets waiting to take the injured away, and heavily armed police patrolled the area. Police on Twitter urged people to stay away from the area, saying they need to keep the streets clear for rescue vehicles.

Police spokesman Winfried Wenzel told ZDF television that the suspect was arrested nearby, but offered no further details.

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