A truck drove into a crowded Christmas market in Germany’s capital Berlin on Monday evening, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others in what Germany’s interior minister said looked like an attack.
According to Reuters, the truck swerved into the market around 8 p.m. local time, normally a crowded time when adults and children would be gathering in the traditional cluster of wooden huts that sell food and Christmas goods in an annual celebration replicated across Germany.
Police said that they had taken one suspect into custody and that another passenger from the truck had died as it crashed into people gathered around wooden huts serving mulled wine and sausages at the foot of a church in the heart of former West Berlin.
The nationality of the suspected driver, who fled the crash scene and was later arrested, was unclear, police said.
German media cited local security sources as saying that there was evidence suggesting the arrested suspect was from Afghanistan or Pakistan and entered Germany in February as a refugee.
Police later said that 48 injured people were brought to Berlin hospitals.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the circumstances of the crash were still unclear, adding: “I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet although a lot points to that.”
A government spokesman said Chancellor Angela Merkel was briefed on the situation by de Maiziere and the Berlin mayor. Police said there were no indications of further dangerous situations in the area and urged people to stay away from the scene. “I’m deeply shaken about the horrible news of what occurred at the memorial church in Berlin,” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
Government officials have said the country, which accepted nearly 900,000 migrants last year, many from the war-torn Middle East, lies in the “crosshairs of terrorism.