There are doubts as to whether a Pakistani suspect in police custody was the driver of the vehicle that ran through a crowded German Christmas market, police chief Klaus Kandt said Tuesday.
“It is in fact unclear whether (the suspect) was the driver,” Kandt said during a press conference in response to a journalist’s question.
The attack saw a large truck plough through a crowded Christmas market in the heart of Berlin late Monday, leaving 12 people dead and dozens injured.
A man later identified as a 23-year-old Pakistani man who registered for asylum in Berlin earlier this year was detained near the scene shortly after the incident. He has denied involvement in the attack.
“We’ve got the wrong man and therefore a new situation. The true perpetrator is still armed, on the loose and can do fresh damage,” German newspaper Die Welt cited a police official as saying.
Another suspect, a Polish national who was a passenger in the truck, was found shot dead at the scene.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said earlier that the gun had not been recovered.
He confirmed that the incident had been an intentional attack, but said that the Islamic State extremist group had not yet claimed responsibility for the attack through its official channels.
The Christmas market carnage comes less than six months after two attacks in Germany inspired by Islamic State and the Bastille Day attack in the French city of Nice, which left 86 dead.
“Like millions of people in Germany, I am deeply saddened and horrified at what happened yesterday at Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said in response to the attack.
“We do not want to live in fear of evil,” she added during a press conference.