1 killed, 30 injured as car smashes into crowd in German capital

The incident happened near the scene of a fatal attack on December 19, 2016.


One person was killed and at least a dozen others injured on Wednesday when a car slammed into a group of people in a busy shopping district in central Berlin, police said.

The driver was briefly detained by bystanders before being handed over to police after the car slammed into a storefront, according to police spokesman Thilo Cablitz.

It was unclear whether the crash was intentional, police said.

The accident happened around 10:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) just opposite Breitscheidplatz, where an Islamic State sympathizer drove a truck into a Christmas market in 2016, killing 12 people.

About 130 rescue workers were deployed to the scene, where several people were seriously injured and some were airlifted by helicopter for treatment.

“There are serious injuries among more than a dozen injured,” Cablitz said.

The silver Renault Clio with a Berlin license plate first drove into the crowd at the corner of Tauentzienstrasse and Rankestrasse, before driving off again, then crashing into the Marburgerstrasse storefront about 150 meters away (165 yards).

“It happened so fast”

Frank Vittchen, a witness at the scene, told AFP he was sitting by a nearby fountain when he “heard a big crash and then also saw a person flying through the air”.

The vehicle traveled “at high speed on the pavement and did not brake”, he said, its windows shattering under the impact.

“It all happened so fast,” he said.

Germany has been on high alert for car bombings since the deadly 2016 Christmas market assault, most carried out by people with psychological problems.

In December 2020, a German rammed his car into a pedestrianized shopping street in the southwestern city of Trier, killing four adults and a baby.

Earlier the same year, a German rammed his car into a carnival procession in the central town of Volkmarsen, injuring dozens of bystanders, including children. He was sentenced to life in prison last year.

In January 2019, another German injured eight people when he drove into crowds on New Year’s Eve in the western towns of Bottrop and Essen. He was then placed in psychiatric care.

In April 2018, a German drove his van into people sitting outside a restaurant in the city of Münster, killing five people before committing suicide. Investigators later said he had mental health issues.

During the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006, a German drove his car into a crowd gathered to watch a match at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, injuring around 20 people. The driver was then committed to a psychiatric hospital.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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