The Current

Berlin Christmas market attack: 'We'll see more of these,' says journalist

Yesterday was a day of violent attacks from the assassination of Russia's ambassador in Turkey to a shooting at a Zurich mosque, to a transport truck that plowed into shoppers in Berlin. The Current looks at the implications for a continent already wary.
A man lights a candle beside a note that reads, 'In us you continue living - Berliner,' near the scene where a truck plowed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, Dec. 20, 2016. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

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On Dec. 19, at an outdoor Christmas market in Berlin, a truck plowed into a crowd of shoppers, killing at least 12 people — including a passenger in the truck. More than 50 were injured.

"Unfortunately I was not surprised," journalist and author Loretta Napoleoni tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti after hearing the news of the Berlin market tragedy.
People lay flowers at the scene where a lorry plowed through a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

"I was expecting something like that. Sort of a copycat of what happened in Nice," says Napoleoni, referring to an attack in France on Bastille day that left at least 84 people dead.

"I think we'll see more of these kind of attacks," she says because a "network" has been activated inside of Europe.

She points to the public image of the caliphate as "very, very weak at the moment" and says the way to represent themselves as a real force is through attacks.

"This is a pattern that we have seen in the last few months that no matter what happens they try to claim it because this is a strategy," Napoleoni explains.

'Running for their lives': Eye witness

Zadig Onnasch was at the crowded Christmas market and describes the scene to Tremonti as "a loud bursting of wood" from the market installments and people panicked, "running for their lives."

"I was close enough to see things I wished I would never see," says Onnasch.

He says media reports did say this could happen and authorities warned people about Christmas markets.

"I don't know why I didn't expect anything to happen here. But that's the point of terror, it usually hits you when you least expect it."

Napoleoni says Christmas markets are an easy target but asks, "What do we do? Do we stop living?"

"We cannot let them stop us going about our lives as we did before. Otherwise they really win."

Listen to the full segment at the top of this post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli and Pacinthe Mattar.