German police say "unclear" arrested Pakistani man drove Berlin Christmas market truck, warn armed terrorist suspect still at large, call for "vigilance".
The attack against a Christmas Market in Germany, which killed 12 people and injured nearly 50 others, has been claimed by ISIL according to a statement made on its Amaq news agency.
In its statement, ISIL says the perpetrator of the Berlin attack “is a soldier of the Islamic State and he executed the operation in response to calls to target nationals of the coalition countries.”
The announcement comes as German police intensify their manhunt to find the perpetrator of the Berlin Christmas market attack. The perpetrator is believed to still be at large as Germany’s chief federal prosecutor released an earlier detained suspect.
Moments after a lorry ploughed into a Christmas market in Berlin, police detained a 23-year-old Pakistani man believed to be at the time the driver of the truck.
But on Tuesday afternoon the German federal prosecutor’s office said they did not have sufficient evidence to pursue a case against the police’s one and only suspect.
The man denied any involvement and is not on any terror database. He is also currently pursuing an asylum application.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Berlin police are investigating more than one lead in connection to the attack in Berlin.
He said there is no doubt Germany was attacked, but the motives remain unclear. Berliners should not dismiss the possibility the perpetrator of the attack remains at large.
Twelve people were killed and 48 others wounded when a lorry mounted a curb and hit pedestrians at a Christmas market in central Berlin.
Eighteen of the wounded are said to be in a serious condition.
Twenty-four of those wounded have since been released from hospital and are said to be returning to their families, say German police.
Das macht uns Hoffnung, 24 Verletzte vom #Breitscheidplatz konnten die Krankenhäuser bereits verlassen & sind wieder bei ihren Angehörigen.
— PolizeiBerlinEinsatz (@PolizeiBerlin_E) December 20, 2016
German authorities are treating Monday’s incident as a deliberate act. Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere told reporters this morning that there is “no doubt” the incident was an attack.
One of the victims was found inside the lorry, and is suspected to be the original driver, a Polish man.
He was shot, and it is understood that German authorities do not believe he was in control of the vehicle when it hit the other victims.
The UK Foreign office issued the following advice to British travellers:
“There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in public places visited by foreigners. The German government has announced that increased security has been put in place as a precaution at public buildings, major events, transport hubs and large public gatherings.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.”
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
What we know- 12 dead, 48 injured
- Driver arrested, nationality not confirmed
- German government confirms it was a terrorist attack.
- Body found in passenger seat identified as Polish national, not the driver