Police in Berlin have announced that a car explosion which flipped the car, and killed the driver – a male who was driving through the centre of Berlin early Tuesday, was possibly caused by a bomb but which is not believed to be linked to terrorism.
Berlin police took to Twitter after the bomb explosion and posted a picture of the wreckage of a silver 4-door VW Passat station wagon sitting in the street with its windows blown out, doors bent and the front end of the vehicle completely smashed in. The car sat in the Charlottenburg neighbourhood of western Berlin and is believed to have been in motion before the explosion that tore it apart.
Car bomb explodes in Berlin, reportedly killing driver, German police say https://t.co/8D6lznSARK— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 15, 2016
The driver suffered injuries from the explosion that were so grave he died at the scene. Several passing motorists pulled the driver from the vehicle in an attempt to aid him but before the paramedics could arrive he died from his severe injuries. No other injuries were reported despite the fact that the force of the explosion rammed the car into another vehicle parked on the street. Before further investigation this morning police ordered the streets cleared and brought in the bomb squad to ensure no other explosive devices were on the car.
Investigators have advised that the driver has been under scrutiny previously for alleged connections to drug networks and that the attack is believed to have been drug related. Berlin police spokesman Michael Merkle stated that the vehicle had been travelling down the city’s Bismarck Street at the time of the explosion and went on to advise the direction which the investigation will be taking. The investigation is being treated as a homicide.
“We are investigating in the direction of organized crime, and it doesn’t look at all like a terrorist attack at this point.”
Earlier in the day, immediately following the car bomb, Carsten Mueller, the deputy chief spokesman for Berlin police, told the Associated Press in an interview that the explosion of the car occurred at approximately 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Bismarckstrasse in the western district of Charlottenburg. According to the Daily Mail, Mueller also advised that “investigators are working on the assumption that it was an explosive device” either inside of or on the vehicle which caused the blast.
Merkle has stated that investigators have confirmed the identity of the driver and that he is a 43-year-old male of Turkish citizenship and was the victim of an organised crime assassination. The police have however, declined to provide any further details regarding the man’s identity though.
Explosion rips apart car in Berlin; driver killed as officials open probe https://t.co/lbZMNc8NuD— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 15, 2016
The Washington Post wrote that some of the details of the explosion have yet to be revealed and whether or not the explosion device in or on the car was deliberately activated or accidentally tripped is still unclear to investigators. The Berlin police tweeted that their “specialists are now looking into how this occurred in an extensive investigation.” Multiple nations throughout Europe, including Germany, have been on high alert for terrorist attacks following several foiled plots after the November siege in Paris by Islamist extremists.
Organized crime is another grave issue affecting Germany though and Berlin is home to hundreds of thousands of Russians, many of whom are allegedly involved in organised crime. The city has also seen a spate of violence in recent years that has been linked to biker gangs and their involvement in the drugs trade. Officials refused to speculate on which possible connection the driver could have been killed in relation to.
[Photo by Michael Sohn/AP]