Pak Man Wrongly Arrested, Berlin Truck Attacker May Be Out There: Reports
German authorities said they may have detained the wrong man after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin on Monday evening, killing 12 people.
Thomas de Maizière, Germany’s interior minister, said he was in “no doubt” that the attack, which also injured 48 people, was an act of terror, but he said the suspect in custody had denied involvement.
After Mr de Maizière finished his press conference, Klaus Kandt, Berlin’s police chief, told reporters they had not been able to confirm that the suspect in custody was the perpetrator.
“It’s unclear at this point whether he was really the culprit,” said Mr Kandt. “We can’t confirm that this person was the driver.”
Peter Frank, the chief prosecutor, warned that one or more perpetrators may still be at large, adding that 30 of the injured were in a serious condition. The man in custody was arrested by police 2km from the scene after being chased on foot by a witness to the attack who led authorities to the suspect, Die Welt reported.
The authorities said the man being held is a Pakistani national who had applied for asylum after entering Germany on December 31 last year. He arrived in Berlin in February.
“That would be particularly sickening for the many, many Germans who every day help refugees, and the many people who really need our protection and are trying to integrate into our country,” she said.
She added that the whole country was “united in profound grief” and promised that those responsible would be “punished with the full force of the law”.
The attack was on a Christmas market near the Kurfürstendamm, the main shopping street in West Berlin, in the shadow of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, which was partly destroyed in the second world war and left in ruins as a monument. It is now one of Berlin’s most distinctive landmarks.