Tuesday Briefing: German Chancellor Says Berlin Christmas Market Attack Was Terrorism

(Photo by AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, visits the site of the attack in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, the day after a truck ran into a crowded Christmas market and killed several people. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A tractor trailer jumped a sidewalk around 8 p.m. Monday night and drove through a Christmas market near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin in what German Chancellor Angela Merkel says in a terrorist attack, the New York Times reports. 12 people died in the incident, and 48 more were injured, 18 of them critically. 

Berlin’s Christmas markets are set to close for a day, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière told the Times, but that Germany’s Christmas markets and other events will continue to take place with an increased security presence. German authorities also said they plan to heighten security at railway stations and other public facilities. 

A suspect was arrested in connection with the attack about a mile and a half from the crash site, NPR reports, although police officials said that they are not entirely certain the person in custody was the man driving the truck during the crash. Another man, who later died, was found inside the truck with a gunshot wound. 


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In November the U.S. State Department had issued a Europe travel alert, indicating that U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets. The alert expires February 20, 2017.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da'esh), al-Qa'ida, and their affiliates continue to plan terrorist attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events, the State Department said. U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility that extremist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks during this period. 

The State Department advises citizens to exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events, visiting tourist sites, using public transportation, and frequenting places of worship, restaurants and hotels. Citizens should also review security information from local officials, as well as follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media and information sources. Travelers are also advised to be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions, stay in touch with family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency, have an emergency plan of action, and register for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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