Three people are dead after a delivery truck driver purposefully drove into a crowd of people in the German city of Münster, with up to 50 others injured. The attack, which occurred at around 3:30 p.m. local time, ended with the driver taking his own life with a gun.
According to CNN, authorities are most certainly treating this incident as one that was pre-planned, although they have not yet referred to it as terrorism. Andreas Boden, a police spokesman for the city of Münster, says that the motive behind the attack has yet to be revealed, as does the driver’s identity. Local police report that the vehicle itself was driven onto a restaurant’s open terrace.
There is speculation that the unidentified culprit chose Münster because it is a very popular area on the weekends, and therefore was likely to be crowded and thus maximize potential victims. It has a population of just over 310,000 and is home to such world-renown landmarks as the 13th-century St. Paulus Dom cathedral, the late medieval St. Lamberti Church, and Prinzipalmarkt square. The city is also known as the “cycling capital of Germany,” a nickname residents provided themselves and is home to several universities. The zoo and art museum, as well as the historic city hall, also draw quite a crowd during the warmer months.
Although authorities are in no way confirming this rumor, many believe that it is not a coincidence this attack fell on the exact one-year anniversary of an almost identical incident in Stockholm, Sweden in 2017. A stolen beer truck was driven through a crowd of pedestrians at a local department store, killing four and wounding 15 others. The tragedy was labeled as a terrorist attack by law enforcement officials shortly after that.
Saturday’s attack in Münster marks the third attack in the past year and a half that has caused fatalities in Germany, although the number of incidents, on the whole, is far greater. The most notable of all of these is the 2016 Berlin attack, which left 12 dead and 48 injured after a truck drove into a Christmas market in the heavily populated Breitscheidplatz, the city’s town square. This was said to be the work of the Islamic State or ISIS as it is more commonly known.
Just over seven months later, the Hamburg attack killed one and injured five due to a failed Palestinian asylum seeker launching a knife attack in an Edeka supermarket. The weapon was a 20 cm-long kitchen knife taken from the store shelves, which he then used to kill a 50-year-old man. Reports say that the attacker’s wish was to “die a martyr,” shouting allegiance to Allah before he went on his rampage.