US: Germany crash appears to have been an attack

BERLIN (AP) — The United States says the ramming of a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin “appears to have been a terrorist attack.”

White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price says the U.S. condemns the attack “in the strongest terms.” He says the U.S. is sending condolences to Germany’s government and its people and thoughts and prayers to the relatives of those killed.

Price says the U.S. has been in contact with German officials over the incident. He says the U.S. is ready to assist Germany in investigating the incident and responding to it.

The White House says the U.S. stands with Berlin in the fight against those who “target our way of life and threaten our societies.”

A Berlin police spokesman says that in addition to the nine dead, about 50 people were injured, including several critically.

Winfried Wenzel told The Associated Press at the scene that among the fatalities was the passenger of the truck, who died as paramedics treated him at the scene. He offered no details on how the passenger was injured.

Wenzel said the truck was registered in Poland, but that police were still investigating where it came from and who the driver is.

The Polish owner of the truck said he feared the vehicle, driven by his cousin, may have been hijacked. Ariel Zurawki said he last spoke with the driver around noon, and the driver told him he was in Berlin and scheduled to unload Tuesday morning.

Zurawki said that “they must have done something to my driver,” he told TVN24.

Berlin’s top security official, state interior minister Andreas Geisel, told RBB television that it was too early to say whether it was an attack, and said that reports the truck may have been hijacked were “pure speculation.”

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