UPDATE: The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attack on a Christmas market in Germany today, according to the anti-ISIS Iraqi Popular Mobilization Front after it analyzed several online extremist networks. A formal claim of responsibility has not yet been issued by ISIS. Die Welt, a German publication, has reported that the terrorist now under arrest has been identified as being of Pakistani origin. Local police are telling citizens to stay at home and refrain from spreading "rumors."  

 
In an act reminiscent of Muslim terrorist attacks, a truck plowed into crowds at a Christmas market next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin this evening. On Twitter, witnesses and commentators are noting that numerous people are unconscious and on the ground at the market following the incident. As many as two persons are believed to have perished, but more are expected.

Local media re reporting that there have been “several casualties,” including nine deaths as a result of the incident. Video of the aftermath showed injured people lying on the ground while others sought to provide assistance. According to Bild, a German newspaper, the large truck rammed the crowds in the city square and came to a halt at a Christmas tree. According to eyewitness reports, there was a loud bang.

More are feared dead or injured, trapped beneath the truck. Terrified citizens have tweeted horrifying image of carnage. Emma Rushton, an English tourist who was at the scene, tweeted, “Lorry just ploughed through Christmas market in #berlin,” adding, “There is no road nearby. People crushed. I am safe. I am safe.”

Both the Berliner Zeitung and the Berliner Morgenpost newspapers reported that it not clear whether the incident was an accident or a terrorist attack. Fears of terrorism of this nature have peaked this year in Europe.

An advisor to President-elect Donald Trump, Sebastian Gorka, provided his interpretation of the incident in Berlin, connecting it to today's murder of Russia's ambassador to Turkey.

On the evening of July 14, as French families celebrated Bastille Day in Nice, a Muslim immigrant similarly plowed a large truck through crowds on a portside thoroughfare, killing dozens. Sentiments are running against the largely Muslim migrants who were welcomed into Germany and have also entered France over the last two years. The use of vehicles as weapons of terror is a commonplace in Israel.

Media are reporting that the truck belonged to a Polish company. Reportedly, the driver of the truck is a cousin of the company owner. There is speculation that the truck was stolen from the owner. French President Francois Hollande has sent a message of “solidarity and compassion” to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The French people share Germans’ sorrow in the face of this tragedy that affects all of Europe,” he said in a statement.

Berlin police said that there was no indication of other "dangerous situations" in the city.  Police are calling on citizens to remain at home. They are also calling on people to refrain from sharing video recorded at the scene of the horror so as to "respect privacy."

The White House has called the incident "a terrorist attack." National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement released after the news broke, "The United States condemns in the strongest terms what appears to have been a terrorist attack on a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany, which has killed and wounded dozens."
 
"We send our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those killed, just as we wish a speedy recovery to all of those wounded," he said. "We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the people and government of Germany. We have been in touch with German officials, and we stand ready to provide assistance as they recover from and investigate this horrific incident. Germany is one of our closest partners and strongest allies, and we stand together with Berlin in the fight against all those who target our way of life and threaten our societies."

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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