At least nine people were killed on Monday evening after a truck driver mounted the kerb and plowed the vehicle in to a crowded Christmas market in the German capital Berlin. It is believed that the vehicle travelled several metres through the stalls, the police arrested a man close by and there was also a dead body in the cab of the vehicle.
This will again raise tensions in Germany in the run up to the elections, and could barely have come at a worse time for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her bid to win a fourth successive term. Many in Germany are already critical of Merkel’s open door policy to refugees from Syria and there has been growing tensions after several flash points in the country. This attack will only strengthen the resolve of those who seek to remove the rising prominence of Islam in the mostly Christian country.
On top of the 9 killed it is believed that 45 people have been injured. So far the police have been able to establish that the truck was stolen in Poland and driven in to the country. The Polish company that own the truck are also trying to locate their driver who is a 37 year old male who was on a job delivering from Italy to Berlin. Whilst most media are being careful, some governments have suggested that the incident bears all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack and believe that it may be so. President elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to send “prayers” to the loved ones of those lost, and promised that America would help to eradicate the threat of terrorism.
The US state department had warned travellers to the heightened risks around Christmas related activities as Isis had recently began targeting more Christian targets around the world. This was underlined by a recent bombing on a Coptic Christian church in Egypt, where Christian’s have faced persecution for an extended period of time. Though the targeting of a specifically Christian target in Europe is something of a new trick, and one that will create nervousness over the Christmas holidays.
Whilst not confirmed this suspected terrorist attack will only inflame Christian-Muslim relations in Germany. In recent times there has been an increase in issues between the two groups as the country struggles to handle a vast influx of refugees from Syria. But most moderates of both sides will beg for calm, as these problems are exactly what terrorist groups like to inflame, as it creates distance and in this distance they find the disillusioned to carry out their terror. It’s vital that Germany sticks together through this sticky period.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.