Monday 16 September 2019

Five things we know so far about three suspected terror attacks

Police guard a Christmas market in Berlin. (AP/Michael Sohn)
Police guard a Christmas market in Berlin. (AP/Michael Sohn)
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With at least ten people dead in three separate suspected terror incidents here is what we know so far.

1. Three attacks

The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead by a police man who allegedly shouted 'don't forget Aleppo' at an art gallery in Ankara during a press conference.

In Berlin, a truck was driven into a crowd at a Christmas market killing 12 and injuring 50.

Meanwhile, in Zurich three men were wounded after a gunman opened fire at a Mosque.

2. The attackers

In Turkey officials have confirmed the gunman who killed the ambassador was a police officer, he was 'neutralised' at the scene.

German police have arrested the suspected driver of the truck, a spokesman said on N24 television. It is believed the truck may have been hijacked earlier in the day, with local reports claiming the truck driver's family were trying to contact him with no avail since noon.

In Zurich the gunman, believed to be in his 30s, is still at large.

3. Witnesses

There was a heavy media presence at the gallery as a result of the press conference. A Reuters witness said that while gunfire rang out for some time after the attack. A Hurriyet newspaper reporter said the attacker chanted Islamist slogans.

In Berlin witnesses reported the truck travelling at 65kmph through the centre of the market.

"I heard a big noise and then I moved on the Christmas market and saw much chaos...many injured people," Jan Hollitzer, deputy editor in chief of Berliner Morgenpost, told CNN. "It was really traumatic."

4. The reaction

World leaders have condemned the shooting of the ambassador as an act of terrorism and Turkey has said it will not let the incident 'cast a shadow' on its relationship with Russia.

In Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel is being briefed on the incident.

5. The background

This marks one of the most serious spillovers of the Syria conflict in Turkey. Relations between Moscow and Ankara have long been fraught over the conflict, the two supporting opposing sides.

Meanwhile in Germany commentators have been remarking on the similarities between the Christmas market crash and the attack in France in July when Tunisian-born man drove a 19-tonne truck along the beach front, mowing down people who had gathered to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day, killing 86 people.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting in Zurich are not yet clear.

It is also not clear if any of the attacks are related.

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