The Islamic State on Tuesday took responsibility for a lethal truck attack on a crowded Christmas market in Berlin a day earlier that killed a dozen people and injured 48 more.
The jihadist group’s Amaq news agency claimed that a “soldier of the Islamic State … carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition.”
A Pakistani asylum seeker who was detained on Monday in connection to the attack was released by authorities due to a lack of evidence.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that investigators are following a number of leads to track the unnamed assailant, who is believed to be on the run. “We just heard about the supposed claim of responsibility by this so-called Islamic State that is in fact a gang of terrorists,” he told the German broadcaster ARD.
Six of the dead were identified as Germans, while a man found shot to death in the cab of the truck was a Pole. Other victims have yet to be identified. Twenty-five people remain hospitalized, with 14 of them reported to be in serious condition.
The tactic used during Monday’s assault recalls an ISIS vehicular attack that took place in Nice, France this past July. In that attack, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day on the city’s Promenade des Anglais, leaving 86 people dead and hundreds injured. At the time, some ISIS supporters praised Palestinian terrorists for developing the car ramming method, with one commenter saying, “killing by ramming using civilian cars and trucks is an idea born from the Maqdisi [Palestinian] mind, which has an innovative nature of thinking up jihad tactics.”
[Photo: DW (English) / YouTube ]