Twelve people were killed and 48 injured on Monday evening after a truck ploughed into a Christmas market in Berlin city center. The Irish leader, Taoiseach Enda Kenny released a statement saying “These acts of violence have no place in society and constitute an attack on our fundamental values.”
On Tuesday afternoon Berlin police announced that the person or persons responsible remained at large. The police urged people to remain "particularly vigilant" and to report "suspicious movement" to a special hotline. One man had been found dead in the truck and another fled on foot but was then arrested. Police are now continuing their investigation into the mass murder.
Ireland’s Deputy Leader, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald described the attack as "unspeakably evil.”
She said “This appears to have been an attack not just on people innocently going about their business preparing for Christmas, but on freedom itself.
"Our values of democracy and liberty are the target of those who wish to see a world of dark tyranny imposed on us all.”
Killian McDonagh and Irish student living in Berlin told Newtalk’s Pat Kenny show he had walked throw the market just 15 minutes before the attack. The European Studies student said that the people of Germany had been expecting this.
“Germany is essentially the leader of the free world, this was to be expected. It could have been far worse,” McDonagh said.
“People have been keeping calm. Berlin has been through so much over the past 100 years. Berliners are tough. They get on with their lives. I hope this remains the case.”
He said that by Tuesday Berliners were just “going about their business.”
Despite the migrant crisis and the fact that refugees are now a feature of the city McDonagh said there’s no sign of anger among the locals. He said Berlin is “the most tolerant.”
He told the radio show that as soon as he heard about the attack he tweeted to assure everyone he was safe.
“The Berlin GAA club texted everyone to get them to check in and let them know they were all right. They also contacted the embassy. There is a really good network here and a great system in place.”
McDonagh said “There is a big Irish community here, well over 1,000 people, a mixture of tech workers and students.”
The Irish Ambassador to Germany, Michael Collins, has been urging Irish living in Berlin to contact home to let them know they are safe. He said the Embassy is doing everything possible to account for the Irish citizens living in Berlin.
He said We're actively in contact through social media and the various other networks we have.
"Throughout the evening yesterday (in the aftermath of the attack), we were actively seeking to reassure ourselves that there were no Irish involved.
"Thankfully so far we have no information that any Irish citizen has been affected."
Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan released a statement expressing his horror at the attack on Berlin and added “Ireland stands in solidarity with Germany.”
Also on Monday evening a lone shooter attacked a mosque in Zurich, Switzerland, wounding two worshippers. Swiss Police Chief Christiane Lentjes Meili said on Tuesday they have found no radical Islamist or far-right motives by a gunman, a 24-year-old Swiss national. He was found dead, near the scene of the crime, having taken his own life.
Meanwhile in Ankara on Monday evening the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov (62) was shot in the back at point blank range by 22-year-old off-duty Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas.
The Ambassador was giving a speech at an art gallery when Altintas killed him. He then paced around the body in front of a shocked crowd and highlighted the crisis situation in Aleppo saying all those responsible would be held accountable.
The police killed the shooter after a 15 minutes exchange, Al Jazeera reports.
The Turkish authorities have detained six people in relation to the crime. Russian has announced that they will also send more than 12 investigators to join the case.
Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins condemned the attacks in Berlin, Ankara and at a Zürich mosque saying "The attacks are calculated to sow fear at the heart of our societies.”
He added "We must strengthen our resolve not to let such attacks undermine the way of life in our global community, seeking to live in diversity and peace."