Photo Credit: Weissanna / Wikimedia Commons
Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, on the Alexanderplatz, Nov. 27, 2011

The Islamic State terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the truck-ramming attack on a crowded Christmas market in west Berlin on Monday evening.

The heavy truck with a Polish license plate rammed into crowds of shoppers at 40 miles per hour, tearing through stalls filled with food and drink and holiday gifts for sale. The attack was horrifyingly similar in style to the terrorist attack in the southern French city of Nice this past July.


At least nine people were killed, with conflicting reports on the number of injured at the outdoor market near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Breitscheidplatz Square.

Police labeled the incident a terrorist attack, European media reported. The driver of the truck was arrested after trying to flee. A passenger who had been in the cab of the truck died on the ground at the scene. Berlin police said they believe the truck drove 50 to 80 meters (54 to 87 yards) through the market before coming to a stop.

Berlin police also are urging locals to stay home tonight, as is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who — setting the example — says she is “mourning the dead.”

The Polish firm which lets out the truck reports it has not been able to contact the original driver, a Polish national, since 4 pm Monday, just a few hours before the attack.

The attack took place one hour after the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, 62, by an off-duty Turkish police officer.

The killer pumped at least five bullets into the diplomat while yelling, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ (God is Great, in Arabic), and ‘Don’t forget Aleppo!’ Unconfirmed reports said the assassin was a member of the diplomat’s own security detail in Ankara.

Last month the U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans in Europe, of a “heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season.

“U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets,” the alert read.

“Credible information indicates the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS, ISIL or Da’esh), Al-Qaeda, and their affiliates continue to plan terrorist attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events,” it continued.

“U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility that extremist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks during this period with little or no warning. Terrorists may employ a wide variety of tactics, using both conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.

Americans were warned to “exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events, visiting tourist sites, using public transportation, and frequenting places of worship, restaurants, hotels, etc. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds, when possible.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.