Dutch PM expresses sorrow over Berlin square tragedy

Mark Rutte
. Mark Rutte / Flicker

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed shock and sadness Monday night in response to the deaths of at least nine people in Germany caused by a truck plowing into a crowd of people. Many of the victims were taking part in that city's annual Christmas market at the Breitscheidplatz when the Poland-registered lorry barreled into the crowd, injuring about 50 people, according to German authorities.

"Berlin grieves. And we grieve as well for the many dead and wounded," Rutte said in a statement Monday night. "We are thinking of everyone waiting in vain tonight for the return of their loved ones. On behalf of the Netherlands I have expressed our deepest condolences to my German colleague, Angela Merkel, and have offered to help where I can."

"A festive Christmas atmosphere falls into deep sadness," added Dutch Foreign Affairs minister Bert Koenders. He expressed empathy for the country and his colleagues, and his sympathies for victims and survivors.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said no Dutch citizens were known to have been injured in the incident as of about 10 p.m.

One tourist quoted by the Associated Press said the crash was intentional. A Polish broadcaster interviewed the owner of the truck, who said his cousin, "a very experienced driver," was behind the wheel.

German police arrested the driver at the scene, according to the Volkskrant. It was not announced by 11 p.m. if that person is the same as the man identified by the truck's owner.

 

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