BERLIN – Police in Germany have confirmed that the driver of the lorry that plowed into a crowd in Berlin Christmas market killing 12 people was not an asylum seeker from Pakistan, it has been learnt.
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German newspaper Die Welt quoted a senior police source as saying that officers have the “wrong man”.
“We have the wrong man. And thus a new situation. For the real culprit is still armed at large and can cause new damage,” the source told the newspaper.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Tuesday that a suspect arrested in connection with the Christmas market truck attack is Pakistani and arrived in Germany on December 31,2015 seeking asylum.
Investigators suspect the driver of the truck that plowed into a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 48, did so intentionally in a terrorist attack, police said on Tuesday.
According to reports in German newspapers, the alleged attacker has been identified as 23-year-old Naved B who was born in Pakistan in 1993. Local broadcaster rbb cited security sources as saying the arrested truck driver came to Germany via Passau, a city on the Austrian border, on Dec. 31, 2015.
A Berlin paper, Der Tagesspiegel, reported earlier that he was believed to be either Pakistani or Afghan.
German authorities and police have yet to disclose the identity and origin of the attacker. However, it has been ascertained that the truck was intentionally driven into the market.
They say the real culprit is still on the loose. “Our investigators assume that the truck was deliberately steered into the crowd at the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz,” police said on Twitter.
“All police measures related to the suspected terrorist attack at Breitscheidplatz are progressing at full steam and with the necessary diligence,” police said.
Political experts believe that in case the attacker is identified as a refugee, it would dent German Chancellor Angela Markel’s policy of giving space to refugees.