12 Dead in Berlin After Truck Drives Into Christmas Market
BERLIN — A truck driver plowed into a crowded Christmas market late Monday on a city square in central Berlin, killing at least twelve people and injuring 50 others, in what the police said they believed was an attack.
German media reported that the truck driver jumped the sidewalk around wooden stands at the market, which was set up around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, whose jagged spire, a reminder of the bombings during World War II, is one of the most symbolic sites in Berlin. It sits between two main streets that run through the heart of West Berlin.
德国媒体报道，这名卡车司机冲撞了威廉皇帝纪念教堂(Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church)附近集市上的木制摊档。该教堂是柏林最具象征意义的景点之一，其残破的尖顶是对二战轰炸的提醒。教堂坐落在两条穿过西柏林中心的主要街道之间。
Local media reported that the driver fled the scene. Later, Berlin police said they had arrested a man near the Christmas market, but they were not immediately able to confirm whether he was the driver. The police also said a passenger was found dead in the cab of the truck.
Firefighters at the site could be seen surrounding the trailer of the truck, parked on the square at the base of the tower of the church. Emergency vehicles surrounded the square and the police asked people to stay at home.
Wooden boards were scattered on the ground as though the truck had driven straight into one of the small stands that sells sweets, sausages, Christmas decorations, jewelry, crafts and small gifts.
The episode immediately evoked memories of the attack last July in Nice, France, when a truck driver ran over and killed more than 80 people during Bastille Day celebrations.
Though that carnage came in the midst of a series of terrorist attacks linked to jihadists in France, it was never clear if the Islamic State or other Islamist groups were connected to the driver, who had a long history of disturbed and violent behavior.
The mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, rushed to the market. “It’s terrible to see this scene,” he said. “It’s exactly what we did not want to see in Berlin.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was in contact with her interior minister and Mr. Müller. “We mourn the dead and hope the many injured can be helped,” her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Twitter.
总理安格拉·默克尔(Angela Merkel)称她与内政部长和穆勒保持着联系。她的发言人斯特芬·塞贝特(Steffen Seibert)在Twitter上说，“我们为死者哀悼，希望伤者能得到帮助。”
The interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said he was immediately alerted after the episode and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. “I am in direct contact with security officials in Berlin and have asked for support from the federal police.”
内政部长托马斯·德梅齐埃(Thomas de Maizière)说，事情发生后他立即收到了通知，他也向受害者的家属表示了慰问。“我与柏林的安全官员保持着直接联系，已经要求联邦警察提供支援。”
Federal prosecutors have taken over the investigation.
Germany has not seen a large-scale terror attack, such as the ones earlier this year in Brussels and Nice, but authorities have said that the country remains on alert after smaller attacks this year, including a suicide bombing in Bavaria, which authorities said was linked to the Islamic State.
Christmas markets are a beloved German tradition. They open on the first Sunday in advent and attract thousands of visitors throughout the month of December until Christmas Eve.
Redwan Emhemed, 17, was at a shopping mall across the street from the market just before the attack. He said he saw the truck come down the street and barrel into the stands about 15 yards away from the church.