The deadly attack on the popular Christmas market near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the centre of West Berlin has been freshly claimed by terrorist organisation the Islamic State. The group's Amaq news agency called the man seen fleeing from the truck as a "soldier of the Islamic State" who "carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition."
The assault on the market was the first mass casualty attack by Islamic extremists on German soil. 12 people were killed and 48 injured when a perpetrator rammed a truck into the crowded area. While Germany has not been involved in anti-IS combat operations, it has stationed Tornado jets and a refueling plane in Turkey in support of the coalition that is fighting militants in Syria. The claim of responsibility came soon after German prosecutors said they had released a man who was arrested from near the scene of the attack, and initially suspected of driving the truck.
The man, a Pakistani citizen who came to Germany last year, was taken into custody based on a description from witnesses of a suspect who jumped out of the truck and fled after the attack. "We may still have a dangerous criminal out there," warned Berlin police chief Klaus Kandt, whose office urged people to be "particularly vigilant" and report "suspicious movement" using a special hotline.