Berlin truck attack: Tunisian sought over market deaths – reports

German police stand near site where a man drove a heavy truck into a Christmas market. 21 December 2016Image copyright
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Germany has stepped up security following the attack on the market

German police are searching for a Tunisian over Monday’s Berlin Christmas market attack, media reports say.

According to a temporary-stay permit found in the cab of the lorry that ploughed into crowds, the man, named as Anis A, was born in 1992 in the city of Tataouine, the reports say.

A police operation is said to be under way in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where the permit was issued.

Reports say the suspect may have been injured in a struggle with the driver.

According to the newspapers Allgemeine Zeitung and Bild, the Tunisian suspect is aged 21 or 23 and is known by three different names.

Broadcaster N-TV said “measures are now imminent” in North Rhine-Westphalia but there are no details.

Twelve people died and 49 were injured when the truck was driven into crowds at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market.

Media captionEyewitness and British tourist Emma Rushton: “There’s no way it just veered off the main road”

So-called Islamic State (IS) said one of its militants carried out the attack, but has offered no evidence.

It has emerged that the original driver of the truck may have fought the attacker as the vehicle was being driven into the market.

Polish citizen Lukasz Urban was found dead on the passenger seat with gunshot and stab wounds.

Investigators quoted by German media say there is evidence that, despite being stabbed, Mr Urban wrestled him for the steering wheel.

One official quoted by Bild newspaper said it appeared from the post-mortem examination that the driver had survived up to the attack and was shot dead when the truck came to a halt. No gun has been recovered.

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The only suspect was released on Tuesday, adding urgency to the manhunt

Ariel Zurawski, the owner of the Polish transport company, said he had been asked to identify Mr Urban from photographs.

“His face was swollen and bloodied. It was really clear that he was fighting for his life,” he told broadcaster TVN.

Company manager Lukasz Wasik described Mr Urban as a “good, quiet and honest person” and said he believed he would have defended the truck “to the end”.

Police say they are acting on hundreds of tips from the public and are examining DNA traces from the cab of the truck.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said he was confident that the person responsible would be caught soon.

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