The Latest: Trump blames Islamic terrorists for Berlin crash

BERLIN (AP) — The latest on a truck ramming into a Berlin Christmas market (all times local):

12:55 a.m.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is blaming Islamist terrorists for a truck crashing into a Christmas market in Berlin that killed at least nine people and injured dozens more.

Although German authorities are still investigating the attack, the White House earlier also said the incident “appears to have been a terrorist attack.”

Trump’s statement offers nothing to back up his claim that Islamist terrorists were behind the attack. He says they and the Islamic State group continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.

The president-elect adds that terrorists must be “eradicated from the face of the earth” and pledges to carry out that mission with all “freedom-loving partners.”

The Islamic State group and al-Qaida have both called on followers to use trucks to attack crowds.


12:40 a.m.

Germany’s top security official says that he’s not ready to call incident at Christmas market an “attack,” but adds that there are many indications pointing to the truck crash that killed nine people in Berlin as having been intentional.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere tells ARD television: “I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet at the moment, although a lot speaks for it.”

De Maiziere adds 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.”


12:05 a.m.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano says he was “deeply stricken and pained” by the deaths of nine people in Berlin when a heavy truck crashed into a Christmas market.

Though German police say it is too early to call whether the incident was intentional, Aflano refers to as an attack.

In a statement provided by Italy’s foreign ministry, Alfano expresses closeness to Germans “in this sad moment that instead should be of joy and peace in the approach to the Christmas holidays.”

Alfano says attacks “won’t change our determination to combat terrorism” alongside international partners and in particular Germany, saying the two countries are in strict coordination.

Separately, Italy’s ambassador in Berlin, Pietro Benassi, told Italian state TV that German authorities couldn’t say yet if any foreigners were among the victims.


11:15 p.m.

A Berlin police spokesman says that in addition to the nine dead in a Christmas market about 50 people were injured, including several critically.

Winfried Wenzel told The Associated Press at the scene that among the fatalities was the passenger of the truck, who died as paramedics treated him at the scene. He offered no details on how the passenger was injured.

Wenzel said the truck was registered in Poland, but that police were still investigating where it came from and who the driver is.

The Polish owner of the truck said he feared the vehicle, driven by his cousin, may have been hijacked. Ariel Zurawski said he last spoke with the driver around noon, and the driver told him he was in Berlin and scheduled to unload Tuesday morning.

Zurawki said that “they must have done something to my driver,” he told TVN24.

Berlin’s top security official, state interior minister Andreas Geisel, told RBB television that it was too early to say whether it was an attack, and said that reports the truck may have been hijacked were “pure speculation.”


10:50 p.m.

Czech authorities are increasing security after a truck has run into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin killing at least nine people.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec tweeted that security is being beefed up at places with a high concentration of people all across the country.

Chovanec also says that more armed police officers will be on Czech streets. He says further possible security measures will be decided on Tuesday.


10:40 p.m.

Berlin police are encouraging people to use a Facebook safety check to learn if loved ones are safe after a truck plowed into a crowded Christmas market. At least nine people were killed.

The tweet linked out to Facebook, which has set up checks periodically after natural disasters and attacks around the world.

But police also asked people to refrain from spreading videos to protect privacy.


10:30 p.m.

Germany’s justice minister says that federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism cases, are taking over the investigation after a truck rammed into a Christmas market in Berlin.

Heiko Maas didn’t give further details in a post on Twitter Monday night about the “shocking news” from the capital. He added: “we are mourning with the relatives” of the victims.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere says that he’s in constant touch with security authorities, but didn’t give any indication in a statement whether they believe the incident was an attack.


10:10 p.m.

Berlin police say that the passenger of a truck that rammed a Christmas market died at the scene.

At least nine people were killed when the truck crashed into the popular market in central Berlin on Monday evening.

Police also tweeted that a suspect was arrested near the scene, and authorities were checking if it was the driver of the truck. No further details were immediately available.

“Police spokesman Winfried Wenzel told ZDF television, however, that the suspect arrested was believed to be the truck driver”


9:45 p.m.

German police say they’ve arrested a suspect believed to be the driver of a truck that rammed into a crowded Christmas market in the center of Berlin, killing at least nine and causing multiple injuries.

Police spokesman Winfried Wenzel told ZDF public television that the man was arrested near the scene.

No further details were immediately available.


9:20 p.m.

Berlin police say a truck has run into a crowded Christmas market in the center of Berlin killing at least nine people, and causing multiple injuries.

Police said on Twitter that the truck rammed into the market outside the capital’s popular Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Monday evening.

Bild newspaper posted a picture of a large Scania truck with its windshield smashed out on the sidewalk alongside the market.

Police say they’re still investigating whether the incident was an accident or an attack.


8:35 p.m.

German media are reporting a truck has run into a crowded Christmas market in the center of Berlin, causing multiple injuries.

Both the Berliner Zeitung newspaper and the Berliner Morgenpost reported the truck ran into the market outside the landmark Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Monday evening.

A photo posted by the Morgenpost showed damaged tables and stalls.

The Berliner Zeitung said police believed there to be multiple injuries, but police couldn’t immediately be reached to confirm.

Both newspapers reported it wasn’t immediately clear whether the incident was an accident or some kind of an attack on the market.