ISIS claims inspiration for Berlin attack, officials urge public to remain alert

National/World News
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BERLIN, Germany — The terrorist group ISIS is claiming it is behind the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin but authorities still haven’t pinned down a suspect.

The attack killed 12 and injured 48 when a truck plowed into the popular market.

The ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency released a statement Tuesday saying Monday night’s attack was carried out by “a soldier of the Islamic State” in response to calls by the group’s leadership to target citizens of international coalition countries.
German authorities are investigating the attack as an act of terror.

The man initially detained as a suspect of the attack has been set free, Germany’s general prosecutor said in a short statement Tuesday.

“The investigations thus far have not produced urgent suspicion against the suspect,” the statement said.

Berlin police president Klaus Kandt had said officials could not be certain the man, who was picked up about a mile away from where 12 people were killed and 48 others injured on Monday evening, was the attacker.

De Maiziere said the man who was arrested and then freed had entered Germany on Dec. 31, 2015, and sought asylum in Germany, but that his application had not been completed.

Intelligence and police sources earlier said the man detained had arrived to the country in Passau, a city on Germany’s border with Austria, after traveling through the Balkans.

Berlin police said the truck, owned by a Polish company, “was steered deliberately into the crowd.” It was carrying 25 tons of steel at the time, the vehicle’s owner said.

The man had been taken into custody was detained by police just more than a mile from the scene. Another man was found dead in the passenger seat of the truck.

Ariel Zurawski, owner of the truck company, told TVN 24 the vehicle might have been hijacked, as his cousin — the truck’s regular driver — couldn’t have been behind the wheel.

Berlin police corroborated the information, saying the man found dead was a Polish citizen and was not at the wheel during the incident.

De Maiziere said the man found in the truck appeared to have been shot dead, but that authorities had not found the weapon used.

The minister called for Christmas markets to be closed for a day of mourning.

“But to cancel them would be wrong,” he said, adding they would hopefully reopen Wednesday.

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