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9 Dead After Truck Crashes Into Christmas Market in Berlin

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Berlin police said 9 people were killed and about 50 people were injured when a truck ran into a crowded Christmas market on Monday.

Police said a person believed to be the truck driver was arrested near the scene. A passenger in the truck died at the scene, according to police.

Federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases, are taking over the investigation of the truck crash, Germany’s justice minister Heiko Maas said via Twitter on Monday.

German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said he was hesitant to call the incident an “attack,” but said that signs pointed to the crash being intentional.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet at the moment, although a lot speaks for it,” he told ARD television, according to the AP. He added that “there is a psychological effect in the whole country of the choice of words here, and we want to be very, very cautious and operate close to the actual investigation results, not with speculation.”

Despite a lack of official confirmation that the incident was linked to terrorism, President-elect Donald Trump called it “horrifying terror attack” in a statement.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims of today’s horrifying terror attack in Berlin. Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday,” he said. “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.”

White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price released a statement condemning the crash, and saying it appeared to be a terrorist attack.

“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,” Price said. He continued, “We have been in touch with German officials, and we stand ready to provide assistance as they recover from and investigate this horrific accident.”

Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German chancellor Angela Merkel, Tweeted that she was in contact with the interior minister.

“We mourn the dead and hope the many injured can be helped,” he wrote.

The Associated Press, citing German media, reported the truck ran into the market outside the Kaiser Willhelm Memorial Church. The market was in the center of the city, according to the AP.

Berlin police said on Twitter that the rest of the city appears to be safe.




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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com