Saturday 29 April 2017

Poles bid farewell to truck driver killed in Berlin attack

People pray in front of the coffin with the body of Lukasz Urban, the Polish truck driver killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack (AP)
People pray in front of the coffin with the body of Lukasz Urban, the Polish truck driver killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack (AP)

Hundreds of mourners have bid farewell to the Polish truck driver killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack.

Lukasz Urban, 37, has been described as the first victim of the attack that killed a total of 12 people in the German capital on December 19.

He had been waiting to deliver a shipment of steel in Berlin when his truck was hijacked by the attacker, believed to be Tunisian man Anis Amri, who was later killed in a shoot-out with Italian police.

Mr Urban was shot, and his body was found later in the cab of the truck.

Poland's president Andrzej Duda joined Mr Urban's family, friends and neighbours in a church in the village church in Banie, near the border with Germany.

Several other Polish political officials and a representative of the German embassy to Poland were also there.

A letter from prime minister Beata Szydlo was also read out in which she described her "great pain and sadness" and expressed her sympathy to Mr Urban's family.

"Poles have fallen victim to terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic fundamentalists but the tragedy that happened in Berlin is unique when it comes to the ruthlessness and cruelty of the perpetrator," Ms Szydlo said.

Bishop Henryk Wejman delivered a homily in which he described Mr Urban as a man who was open to others and conscientious in his work.

"His willingness to work and serve others won him the trust of other people and the openness to fellow man," Bishop Wejman said.

As the Mass was winding down the president bowed his head at Mr Urban's coffin before offering his condolences to the dead man's wife and teenage son.

The coffin was then carried out of the church and placed in a hearse, which drove it slowly through the village to a cemetery for burial, as mourners walked alonside it.

Before the Mass, a group of truck drivers honked the horns of their trucks to honour Mr Urban.

Press Association

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