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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Berlin truck crash a 'probable terrorist attack,' police say

German authorities were questioning the sole suspect in a truck attack on a popular Christmas market that left at least 12 dead, in what authorities described Tuesday as a “probable terror attack.”

The suspect is from Pakistan, a person familiar with the investigation said. The man was born in the 1990s, the person said, noting it was not yet clear whether the man entered Germany as a refugee as some German media reported.

At about 8 p.m. Monday, a black semitrailer with Polish license plates drove onto the sidewalk at the market in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, one of western Berlin’s most famous landmarks, and plowed into revelers and market stands, injuring 48 additional people. The truck barreled more than 200 feet and the driver then fled the scene, the police said, citing witness reports.

Authorities said early Tuesday morning that the truck was driven into the market on purpose. “Our investigators are working on the assumption that the truck was steered deliberately into the crowd,” the police wrote on the force’s official Twitter account.

A Polish man found in the truck was among the dead, Berlin police said, adding that he was a passenger in the cab of the truck. The owner, Ariel Zurawski, told Polish news channel TVN24 he had lost contact with the man who had been driving the truck earlier in the day—a cousin of his—in the early afternoon. He said that he believed the driver might have been assaulted and that he was confident his cousin wasn’t behind the steering wheel at the time of the attack.

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