Belfast Telegraph

Terrorist behind Berlin lorry attack horror still at large as suspect freed

By Allan Preston

The suspect behind the Berlin lorry attack is on the run after the man arrested by police was released due to insufficient evidence.

German police admitted the person behind the attack that killed 12 and injured 50 is at large and may be armed.

A 23-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker was detained in the aftermath of Monday's attack, but denied any involvement.

Yesterday the Islamic State group said it was responsible for the atrocity that saw a truck driven into unsuspecting Christmas shoppers.

German authorities said yesterday they no longer had any suspects in custody after releasing one man due to lack of evidence.

Last night Olaf Hellman, manager of a nearby Irish pub, told the Belfast Telegraph that customers refused to be intimidated after hearing the horrific news on Monday evening.

"Every night in the bar we have live music. On Monday night we asked our customers if we should continue, and they said: 'Yes, the show must go on. We don't want terrorists to have us sit here and cry'," he said.

"We'll do the same tonight, but at the moment it's very quiet. So much is going on with people bringing flowers and candles there.

"It's not normal, you watch it so many times on the TV. But it's not real till you go out and see for yourself. Yesterday so many people on the streets were crying."

A couple from Londonderry, Mickey McCrossan and his girlfriend Eimear Callan, had been close to the scene of the attack near the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church only hours before.

Speaking to the Derry Journal, Mickey said: "Thankfully Eimear and I were at another Christmas market at the time of the attack, but earlier that day, we were much closer to where the tragedy took place.

"We'd literally just stopped two hours before for a beer and a mulled wine not far from where the attack took place."

He added: "The place has just been swamped with police and it's very clear the mood of locals and tourists has just dipped - I think it's a case of just being very careful now."

The organisers of Belfast's Christmas Market posted their own tribute on social media following the tragedy.

They said they were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of events at the Berlin Christmas Market. "As organisers of festive events, we know the joy they bring. For this happiness to be so devastatingly interrupted is heartbreaking. We send our condolences to all those affected. Our thoughts are with locals, visitors and traders," they added.

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