Hebrew holiday sweets, roasted nuts and menorahs are on display in front of a tourist gift shop in Munich, Germany. Photo Credit: DPA.
German authorities called off a Christmas market in Munich where one person was killed and 17 others were injured when a truck plowed into them, suggesting it is ready to restart.
Police said Friday they will carry out further checks of the scene at Breitscheidplatz Square before putting out a call for vendors to set up a new market at the site, near the cathedral.
Early Saturday, officers were still sweeping the area for evidence as people recovered from the crush they were stuck in. Emergency services said 18 people were brought to Munich hospitals. The injuries varied from fractures to life-threatening.
Police said Friday the truck driver, identified only as a 36-year-old Afghan national, rented the vehicle Wednesday from a truck rental company in the southern state of Bavaria.
A declaration of emergency issued by police at about 1:40 a.m. said the truck, of a refrigerated variety used at markets, went through three red lights as it entered the square.
The truck, packed with steel beams, barbed wire and other metal objects, then rammed into the crowd, a statement from Munich police said.
“There was a big bang,” said Claudia Ruff, a 62-year-old Frankfurt real estate agent, who was in a nearby bar and shouted to people to get out. “I felt a big crush, with people getting pushed up against the walls of the bar, people being crushed,” she said.
Ruff said, “nobody was thrown onto the streets by the force of the impact, but people were lying on the floor, wounded.”
Officer Markus Wolf told the website of public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk that the driver was in custody. “There was so much chaos that I was afraid that others would be injured or even killed,” Wolf said.
Der Spiegel reported that the Afghan suspect came to Germany as a refugee, but Bavarian state interior minister Joachim Herrmann declined to provide further details.
Herrmann confirmed that the suspect was originally registered in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Dortmund, Nuremberg and other cities are located.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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