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Truck Rams Berlin Christmas Market, At Least 12 People Dead

Update Date: Dec 20, 2016 09:37 PM EST

A merry Monday evening at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas Market outside Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in west Berlin ended in tragedy as a black truck crashed three stalls. The incident caused the deaths of 12 locals and tourists, leaving dozens with injuries and the market filled with debris and dead bodies. 

The truck was driven by the cousin of Ariel Zurawski, who is owner of the vehicle, according to The Washington Post reported. He lost contact to him at around 4 P.M. and thought he might have been hijacked.

A man, who matched the driver description, fled the scene, according to witnesses, but was then arrested near the Victory Column in Berlin's Tiergarten and was interrogated. While another man inside the truck, presumed as the real driver, was found dead.

A British tourist who was in the area said that the truck ran 40 mph and showed no sign of slowing down, claiming it might have been intentional. Police said that the truck ran about 40 to 80 meters before it came to a complete stop, The Guardian reported.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility of the attack. Back in July, 86 people were killed when a Tunisian-born French resident, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel,  steered a 19-tonne vehicle into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. This incident is a similar plot to that in Breitscheidplatz, one of the busiest Christmas market in Berlin. The Islamic State has claimed two incident this year.

Officials are still investigating whether the incident was purely just a tragic accident or an attack of terror, while The White House considers it an "apparent terrorism attack.".

As of press time, the area has been cleared and an information post has been set up for relatives searching for their loved ones.

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