The Corner

A Bad Day Gets Worse — Nine People Die in a Potential Truck Attack in Berlin

First, a terrorist guns down the Russian ambassador to Turkey, and now this:

A truck driver plowed into a crowded Christmas market late Monday on a city square in central Berlin, killing at least nine people and injuring 50 others, in what the police said they believed was an attack.

German media reported that the truck driver jumped the sidewalk around wooden stands at the market, which was set up around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, whose jagged spire, a reminder of the bombings during World War II, is one of the most symbolic sites in Berlin. It sits between two main streets that run through the heart of West Berlin.

Local media reported that the driver fled the scene. Later, Berlin police said they had arrested a man near the Christmas market, but they were not immediately able to confirm whether he was the driver. The police also said a passenger was found dead in the cab of the truck.

As of the time of this post, German police had not yet identified the subject or stated a motive for the likely attack. I hope this probable attack is “merely” an accident. If it’s deliberate, I hope it’s the work of a deranged criminal and not part of an expanding jihadist strategy. 

If it is another terror attack like the far more deadly assault in Nice, France, it underscores the difficulty in stopping determined jihadists from killing innocent men, women, and children. The implements of modern transportation — like planes, trucks, and cars — are obviously extraordinarily deadly in the wrong hands. There’s no method of “truck control” that can stop terrorists. 

The diabolical genius of ISIS lies in convincing sympathetic Muslims that they need not attempt the “spectacular” al Qaeda-style attack — or that they need not leave their homes for training. They can be terrorists where they are, with what they have. In other words, they’re introducing the Israeli reality to the western world. Say hello to terrorism as a fact of life and a constant risk. 

Again, I hope this attack isn’t a terror attack. I hope it’s not part of a trend. But I fear that it is, and if it is, it’s a trend that will be hard to keep on European shores.