The Berlin attack, which has claimed 12 lives so far, has injured 48 others as well. On Monday, a truck crashed into a crowd in a Christmas market. According to police, it was a deliberate attempt to attack the crowded area. The police have also managed to arrest a suspect in the incident.
Many believe that there is a striking similarity between the Breitscheidplatz attack in Berlin and the one that happened in Nice in July. German Chancellor Angela Merkel immediately called the Berlin assault a terrorist attack.
The July incident was also a terrorist attack carried out by Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a French resident born in Tunisia. In terms of deaths, the Bastille Day attack was even more lethal. It claimed 86 lives and injured hundreds of others. The attacker crashed a 19-tonne truck into a crowd which had gathered to watch a firework display.
Now that the police have captured a suspect in the latest attack, the striking similarity between the two attacks is noteworthy. The year 2016 has been a year of terror for Germany. Merkel's decision to open Germany's doors to Middle Eastern asylum seekers has been controversial. In her own country, huge numbers of people are against her decision. The recent attacks have made Merkel's opposition even stronger.
There is a number of things we know so far about the Berlin attack suspect.
He's A Pakistani ImmigrantThe suspect has been identified to be Naved B, a Pakistani immigrant who arrived in Germany on December 31, 2015. He went to the German capital in February. According to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, his asylum application was not completed. The 23-year-old man was arrested in the Tiergarten public park.
#BerlinAttack latest https://t.co/fbpZMviK3p pic.twitter.com/GokL9TI9B1
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) December 20, 2016
He's A Known CriminalThe suspect of the Berlin attack is no stranger to police. Even though he arrived in Germany less than a year ago, he was already known for petty crimes. However, according to police, there has been no terror link associated with him yet. A witness reportedly followed the suspect when he was running away. The witness informed the police about his location. Earlier, special forces raided a hangar at the Tempelhof airport, where the suspect is believed to have been living.
Police Are Unsure If He's ResponsibleNow, here comes the strange part. Even though the Berlin attack suspect is believed to have left the truck and run away, police are unsure if he is responsible for the attack. It is doubtful if he was the one who was driving the truck when it killed 12 people and injured 48 others. Berlin police head Klaus Kandt talked about the doubt regarding his involvement.
"It is, in fact, uncertain whether that really was the driver."
The Original Driver Was From PolandThe truck involved in the Berlin attack has been registered in Poland. The owner of the truck is identified as Ariel Zurawski, a Polish national who has confirmed that his driver went missing. The Polish driver, who is believed to have been responsible for the attack, was unreachable since 4 pm local time, according to the BBC.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the site of the #BerlinAttack to lay flowershttps://t.co/x9rE1iI15O https://t.co/FfmFhg6kLm
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) December 20, 2016
Change In ISIS StrategySeveral experts believe that ISIS is changing its strategy of operation. The terrorist group has been increasingly losing ground in Iraq and Syria. That is why it may now be targeting soft targets in the West with the help of radicalized young people. It is unclear so far if the Berlin attack suspect had any direct links to the terrorist group.
In November, the US State Department warned people traveling to Europe to be careful about attacks during the Christmas season. They have been asked to "exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets."
[Featured Image by Leon Neal/Getty Images]