.
.
.
.

Who is the Berlin truck driver behind the carnage?

Police said that the man found dead in the truck was a Polish citizen but added he was not in control of the vehicle

Published: Updated:

The lorry that ploughed into a busy Berlin Christmas market, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more, was steered into the crowd "intentionally", Berlin police said early Tuesday.

"Our investigators assume that the truck was intentionally steered into the crowd at the Christmas market," police said in a Twitter message about the suspected attack late Monday.

"All police measures related to the suspected terrorist attack at Breitscheidplatz are progressing at full steam and with the necessary diligence," police said.

Police said that the man found dead in the truck was a Polish citizen but added he was not in control of the vehicle. The nationality of the suspected driver, who fled the crash scene and was later arrested, was unclear, they said.

German media cited local security sources as saying that there was evidence suggesting the arrested suspect was from Afghanistan or Pakistan and had entered Germany in February as a refugee.

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. It cited the sources as saying the man was born on Jan. 1, 1993 in Pakistan and was already known to police for minor offences.

If that is confirmed, it could further worsen sentiment towards migrants in Germany, where more than a million people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere have arrived this year and last.

According to the British newspaper The Mirror, there's a theory that the body found in the truck was that of the original driver who may have been deliberately killed before the truck was hijacked to be used to attack the market.

The truck's owner, Ariel Zurawski also a Polish, was quoted by media outlets as saying that the truck's original driver is innocent of the attack and confirmed that the man who ploughed the truck into the market was not his driver.

Zurawski told Reuters: “The person who was driving and jumped out of the truck was not my driver. I can vouch for my driver. I see it that they did something to him and hijacked his truck that was practically in Berlin center. They simply did something to him. Truly, I have known this man from birth. Why would he drive in Berlin center, if he was waiting for unloading? He was packed with steel, 25 tons of it. It would be illogical."

The suspected driver was a 23-year old migrant from Pakistan, a German security source told Reuters on Tuesday. The suspect arrived in Germany in February, was known to police for minor offences and used several names, said the source. He was staying at a refugee hostel in the building of what used to be Tempelhof airport, added the source.

This article is also available in Arabic.

(With Reuters)