The Latest: Islamic State extremists claim Berlin attack - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

The Latest: Islamic State extremists claim Berlin attack

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BERLIN (AP) -- The Latest on investigation of truck rampage in Berlin Christmas market (all times local):

8:35 p.m.

The Islamic State extremist group is claiming responsibility for the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people and left nearly 50 injured.

The Islamic State group's Amaq news agency said in a statement Tuesday that "the person who carried out the truck run over attack in Berlin is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition."

German police are still hunting for the driver of the truck, which slammed into the downtown Christmas market Monday night.

Germany is not involved in anti-IS combat operations. But it does have Tornado jets and a refueling plane stationed in Turkey in support of the coalition fighting militants in Syria, as well as a frigate protecting a French aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.

7:35 p.m.

The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack" at a Christmas market in Berlin and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Council members say "that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed."

A truck drove into the popular market, killing 12 people and injuring nearly 50 others.

The council "expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the government of Germany."

7:30 p.m.

The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken with the leaders of France, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Poland, Sweden and Spain following the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

A government statement says the leaders expressed their sympathy over the attack in the separate phone conversations on Tuesday.

They also offered Merkel their support in investigating the attack and "stressed the necessity of European solidarity in the fight against terrorism."

7:05 p.m.

German prosecutors say a man arrested after the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market has been released because there isn't sufficient evidence to tie him to the rampage.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that that the man, a Pakistani citizen who came to Germany last year as an asylum-seeker, denied involvement in the attack that killed 12 people and injured nearly 50 others.

They noted that witnesses were able to follow the truck's driver from the scene but lost track of him. The man arrested matched witness descriptions of the truck driver, but investigators haven't been able to prove that he was in the truck's cab at the time of the attack.

Under German law, prosecutors have until the end of the calendar day following an arrest to seek a formal arrest warrant keeping a suspect in custody.

6:35 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck are attending a memorial service at the church next to the Christmas market that was attacked on Monday night.

The nondenominational service at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church came hours after Merkel and other German political leaders laid white roses outside the church.

The church, a centerpiece of the former West Berlin, serves as a symbol of the destruction of war. The 19th-century church was badly damaged in World War II bombing and the remains of its spire were left standing. A modern extension was inaugurated in 1961.

Berlin's Lutheran bishop, Markus Droege, said "Berlin lives with this wound, which was created by violence and war. This church is a memorial -- it shows us what happens when people give free rein to their hatred, when they pursue the path of violence to the end."

6:30 p.m.

A German Muslim group is condemning the truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that left 12 people dead.

The Muslim Coordination Council said in a statement Tuesday that terror "does not stop in the face of innocent people and what is sacred to people." It added that "we are deeply shocked and condemn the cowardly attack in the strongest terms."

The council is an umbrella organization for several German Muslim groups.

German authorities are calling the truck attack an "act of terrorism" that had all the hallmarks of Islamic extremism, but many questions remain over who carried it out. No group has claimed responsibility.

6:20 p.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama has spoken by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and offered his condolences for the attack against the Berlin Christmas market.

Twelve people were killed and nearly 50 others injured when the truck drove into the popular Christmas market filled with tourists and locals outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church near Berlin's Zoo station late Monday.

The White House says Obama reiterated a U.S. offer of assistance. He also underscored that "no attack could sway our determination and that of our German allies to defeat terrorism in all of its forms."

The White House says Obama also expressed his appreciation for Merkel's steadfast leadership in shared efforts to "root out the scourge of terrorism and defend our way of life."

6:15 p.m.

An Italian lawmaker says after the Berlin truck attack the list of possible targets in Italy will likely expand.

Sen. Giacomo Stucchi, the head of Parliament' intelligence commission, told Sky TG24 TV Tuesday that also likely to grow will be the number of persons deemed needing to be closely watched as possible extremists.

Stucchi says `'zero risk doesn't exist." But he is urging Italians to continue to enjoy their public piazzas and attend their churches in the predominantly Catholic country.

German authorities say the truck deliberately was driven into a Christmas market filled with strollers and shoppers in Berlin Monday night, killing 12 people and injuring dozens.

4:25 p.m.

Romania's prime minister is sending condolences to the families of those killed in the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin and calling for renewed efforts to fight terrorism.

In a message Tuesday, Premier Dacian Ciolos says the Romanian government "condemns such acts of unspeakable violence against innocent people."

4 p.m.

Czech leaders say the country is increasing security measures following the truck attack in neighboring Germany.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says the police presence will be "massive" during the Christmas holidays, on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day at places where crowds gather.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec says hundreds more officers will be deployed in the capital and across the country. He says police are ready to renew checks on the border with Germany if German authorities request that.

Police in Berlin say the passenger who died in the truck that rammed into a Christmas market was a Polish national.

In their posting on Twitter early Tuesday, police don't identify the man or give other details.

The Polish owner of the truck said earlier that he feared the vehicle may have been hijacked.

Authorities say 12 people were killed when the truck smashed through the market. Four dozen people were taken to hospitals for injuries, some of the serious.

11:15 p.m.

A Berlin police spokesman says that in addition to the nine dead in a Christmas market about 50 people were injured, including several critically.

Winfried Wenzel told The Associated Press at the scene that among the fatalities was the passenger of the truck, who died as paramedics treated him at the scene. He offered no details on how the passenger was injured.

Wenzel said the truck was registered in Poland, but that police were still investigating where it came from and who the driver is.

The Polish owner of the truck said he feared the vehicle, driven by his cousin, may have been hijacked. Ariel Zurawki said he last spoke with the driver around noon, and the driver told him he was in Berlin and scheduled to unload Tuesday morning.

Zurawki said that "they must have done something to my driver," he told TVN24.

Berlin's top security official, state interior minister Andreas Geisel, told RBB television that it was too early to say whether it was an attack, and said that reports the truck may have been hijacked were "pure speculation."

10:50 p.m.

Czech authorities are increasing security after a truck has run into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin killing at least nine people.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec tweeted that security is being beefed up at places with a high concentration of people all across the country.

Chovanec also says that more armed police officers will be on Czech streets. He says further possible security measures will be decided on Tuesday.

10:40 p.m.

Berlin police are encouraging people to use a Facebook safety check to learn if loved ones are safe after a truck plowed into a crowded Christmas market. At least nine people were killed.

The tweet linked out to Facebook, which has set up checks periodically after natural disasters and attacks around the world.

But police also asked people to refrain from spreading videos to protect privacy.

10:30 p.m.

Germany's justice minister says that federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases, are taking over the investigation after a truck rammed into a Christmas market in Berlin.

Heiko Maas didn't give further details in a post on Twitter Monday night about the "shocking news" from the capital. He added: "we are mourning with the relatives" of the victims.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere says that he's in constant touch with security authorities, but didn't give any indication in a statement whether they believe the incident was an attack.

10:10 p.m.

Berlin police say that the passenger of a truck that rammed a Christmas market died at the scene.

At least nine people were killed when the truck crashed into the popular market in central Berlin on Monday evening.

Police also tweeted that a suspect was arrested near the scene, and authorities were checking if it was the driver of the truck. No further details were immediately available.

"Police spokesman Winfried Wenzel told ZDF television, however, that the suspect arrested was believed to be the truck driver"

9:45 p.m.

German police say they've arrested a suspect believed to be the driver of a truck that rammed into a crowded Christmas market in the center of Berlin, killing at least nine and causing multiple injuries.

Police spokesman Winfried Wenzel told ZDF public television that the man was arrested near the scene.

No further details were immediately available.

9:20 p.m.

Berlin police say a truck has run into a crowded Christmas market in the center of Berlin killing at least nine people, and causing multiple injuries.

Police said on Twitter that the truck rammed into the market outside the capital's popular Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Monday evening.

Bild newspaper posted a picture of a large Scania truck with its windshield smashed out on the sidewalk alongside the market.

Police say they're still investigating whether the incident was an accident or an attack.

8:35 p.m.

German media are reporting a truck has run into a crowded Christmas market in the center of Berlin, causing multiple injuries.

Both the Berliner Zeitung newspaper and the Berliner Morgenpost reported the truck ran into the market outside the landmark Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Monday evening.

A photo posted by the Morgenpost showed damaged tables and stalls.

The Berliner Zeitung said police believed there to be multiple injuries, but police couldn't immediately be reached to confirm.

Both newspapers reported it wasn't immediately clear whether the incident was an accident or some kind of an attack on the market.
 

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