Germany: IS Claims Responsibility for Lorry Attack in Christmas Market
“A soldier of the Islamic State group carried out the Berlin operation in response to appeals to target citizens of coalition countries,” the IS-linked Amaq news agency said.
The group did not release the name or the citizenship of the attacker.
Though Germany does take direct actions into the international coalition campaign against the IS group, it has been targeted by minor attacks.
The European country witnessed two attacks in July carried out by asylum seekers. One asylum seeker, reportedly an Afghan, attacked passengers with an axe on a train. A Syrian refugee also blew himself up injuring 15 people six days after the first attack. Both attacks were claimed by IS.
Police said in October they had foiled a plot by a Syrian refugee to bomb one of Berlin’s airports.
German authorities are still searching for the author of the Monday attack. They believe the suspect is armed and at large.
Authorities firstly arrested a Pakistani asylum seeker suspected for being behind attack. He was arrested on Monday after reports said he jumped out of the lorry.
He has been released for lack of sufficient evidence connecting him to the attack.
“There are many indications that this person who was released is not a suspect, not involved in the attack,” Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere said. That means, he added, that from the very beginning, Berlin police, and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) not only followed this one lead, but followed others as well, from the very start, therefore it cannot be ruled out that the perpetrator may still be on the run.” Security forces are following several lines of investigation, he said.
Monday a lorry whose actual driver was a Polish man smashed wooden stalls and crushed victims in a Christmas market near Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church. The Polish driver was found dead on the passenger seat, reportedly with gunshot and stab wounds. Some 50 people were injured in the attack.