Berlin: A speeding lorry cut a bloody swathe through a Berlin Christmas market on Monday, killing 12 people and wounding 48 others. According to a report on Tuesday, the suspected driver of the truck was a 23-year-old from Pakistan named Naved B.
German newspaper Bild quoted sources involved in the probe as saying that the man, arrested 2 km from the site and was being interrogated, arrived in Germany almost a year ago.
The truck tore through the crowd yesterday, smashing wooden stalls and crushing victims, in scenes reminiscent of July`s deadly attack in the French Riviera city of Nice.
Images showed the mangled truck with its windscreen smashed and a trail of destruction in its wake, with Christmas trees toppled on their side and festive stalls obliterated into splinters.
This morning, the black truck was still visible at the site of the incident and a few candles and roses had been laid by the entrance to a nearby station. Flowers were being laid in the centre of the nearby Kurfuerstendamm, a prestigious shopping street. One woman was crying as she stopped by the flowers.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere had previously said there were indications that the incident was an attack.
Local broadcaster rbb cited security sources as saying the arrested truck driver came to Germany via Passau, a city on the Austrian border, on December 31, 2015. It cited the sources as saying the man was born on January 01, 1993 in Pakistan and was already known to police for minor offences.
German newspaper Die Welt said police special forces stormed a hangar at Berlin's defunct Tempelhof airport housing a refugee accommodation centre at around 4 am. (0300 GMT). It said, without citing its sources, that the arrested man was registered there.
A refugee there who gave his name only as Ahmed told Reuters security guards had told him there was a raid at around 4 am.
Prosecutors declined to immediately comment on the report.
Meanwhile, a Polish man found dead in the truck after the attack was "shot" dead, the interior minister of neighbouring Brandenburg state said today.
If a migrant link is confirmed, it could further sour sentiment towards asylum seekers in Germany, where more than a million people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere have arrived this year and last.
The record influx has hit Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity ratings and boosted support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD). Senior AfD member Marcus Pretzell blamed Merkel for the attack on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Berlin police are investigating leads that the truck had been stolen from a construction site in Poland. They have taken the truck for a forensic examination.
Flags will be hung at half-mast around Germany today.
(With Agency inputs)