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Live Reporting

Yaroslav Lukov, Tom Spender, Alastair Lawson and Hugo Bachega

All times stated are UK

  1. End of our live coverage

    We are pausing our live coverage of the investigations over Monday's lorry attack in Berlin. Here's a round-up of the latest:

    • So-called Islamic State has said one of its "soldiers" carried out Monday's attack; the identity of the attacker has not been established
    • German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere reacted cautiously to the claim, saying "several lines of investigation" were being pursued.  
    • Prosecutors have freed the only suspect, citing insufficient evidence. He was identified by media only as Pakistani national Naved B.
    • You can find all the latest developments here
    • Here's what we know so far about the attack
    • Read more about previous attacks in Germany
  2. IS opportunism in claiming attack?

    IS militants raising their weapons as they stand on a vehicle mounted with the trademark Jihadists flag at an undisclosed location in the Anbar province in 2014

    The claim of the lorry attack in Berlin by so-called Islamic State (IS) does not prove much in terms of the attack. The group often refers to individuals who carry out attacks as its "soldiers" but the crucial question is firstly whether the individual had any form of direct contact with IS.

    Face-to-face or online communication are possible but far from certain. If there was no direct contact, it could still be the case that an individual was inspired rather than directed by the group.

    In this case, an individual may leave his or her own pledge of allegiance in written form or online or in a video.

    But until such evidence emerges, it remains hard to know if this is just an opportunistic claim by the group rather than one based on real substance.

  3. Attack highlights 'man before technology' debate

    The truck which was used to carry out the attack was probably equipped with all the latest technology to prevent an accident, including an emergency braking system, Die Welt (in German) says. 

    But it points out that such technical aids can be over-ruled or disabled by the driver, backing up the "man before technology" motto which insists a human rather than a machine should ultimately be in control. 

    However this internationally accepted regulation is increasingly colliding with new developments in automated or autonomous driving, the paper says, even though experts at present say the technology is not available for a bystander to stop an out-of-control truck.

  4. Motives of attack 'still unclear'

    Forensic experts examine the scene around a truck that crashed into a Christmas market on 20 December

    German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told ZDF television that it was beyond doubt that the truck incident was an attack, but that the motives remained unclear.

    He added that it was still unclear if there were any foreigners among the victims, but said that there were no children among the dead, Reuters news agency reports.

  5. Cautious German reaction to Islamic State claim

    Germany's Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere has reacted cautiously to the claim by the group known as Islamic State that it carried out the attack.

    "This alleged claim of responsibility of the so-called Islamic State, which in reality is nothing but a gang of terrorists, only just came in. Until then there wasn't any claim," he said.

    "Sometimes they [the claims] are issued somewhat later... There are several lines of investigation we are pursuing. We should let the security services do their job. They are working hard and no one will stop until the perpetrator or the perpetrators have been arrested."  

  6. In pictures: Tributes paid to the victims

    A policeman holds a rose in tribute to the victims of the truck attack in Berlin
    Image caption: A policeman at the scene of the truck attack holds a rose in honour of those who were killed
    People place flowers and candles in tribute to the victims at the site of the lorry attack in Berlin
    Image caption: Flowers and candles jostle for space at the scene of the attack
    A minute of silence for the victims of the attack was held ahead of the German Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg in Dortmund
    Image caption: A minute of silence for the victims of the attack was held ahead of the German Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg in Dortmund
    Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a Church service at the Church of remembrance at Breitscheidplatz
    Image caption: Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a church service in remembrance of the victims in Breitscheidplatz, Berlin
    A note is placed among bunch of flowers to pay tribute to the victims at the site of the lorry attack in Berlin
    Image caption: For Berliners the terrible attack of 19 December will for a long time be remembered
  7. Merkel's door to migrants 'may be about to slam shut'

    "After Berlin, Angela Merkel’s open door to migrants might be about to slam shut," writes Josef Joffe in The Guardian.

    "Recall last year when she flung the country's doors wide open. Proclaiming "wir schaffen das" - we can do it - she essentially relinquished control over Germany's borders. 

    "Some 800,000 people from the Middle East as well as North Africa arrived. 

    "Merkel now says that if the perpetrator is indeed a refugee, 'this would be extremely hard for us to bear', and it 'would be particularly repugnant for all those Germans, who toil daily to help refugees'. 

     "Thus do good intentions come to a nasty end," Josef Joffe comments. 

  8. Victims remembered at Bundesliga match

    A fan holds a sign as he remembers the victims of the Berlin attack before the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg at Signal Iduna Park
    Image caption: A fan holds a sign in honour of the victims of the Berlin attack before the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.
  9. Attack carried out by 'soldier of the Islamic State'

  10. BreakingIslamic State says it carried out Berlin attack

    The group known as Islamic State claims responsibility for the truck attack - its self-styled Amaq news agency says.

  11. Dead truck passenger 'a good guy'

    The Polish owner of the truck used in the attack has said the dead man on the passenger seat was his employee and cousin.

    Ariel Zurawski said that Lukasz Urban, 37, was a "good guy", AFP reports. 

    Police said he appeared to have been stabbed and shot. 

    "One person would not have been able to overpower him," Mr Zurawski said, describing his cousin as a heavyset man who weighed 120kg (265lb) and stood 183 cms (6ft) tall. 

    "We could see injuries. His face was bloodied and swollen," Zurawski told private news channel TVN 24, referring to a photo of the body he received from Polish police. 

    "There was a stab wound. Police also told me there was a gunshot wound," he said, adding that the dead man's family - including his widow and 17-year-old son - were in shock.

  12. Rise of 'criminals-turned-terrorist suspects'

    Lorry Truck Drives Through Christmas Market In Berlin

    As investigators try to work out the motive of a driver who drove the killer lorry on Monday in Berlin, new data shows that European authorities are not just guarding against terror plots using weapons like trucks or bombs, The Washington Post says.

    "They are also concerned about a more conventional threat: illegal firearms that may be increasingly easy for suspected terror networks to obtain".

    Citing figures released by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence at King's College London, the paper says that "criminals-turned-terrorist suspects" are increasingly becoming a problem. 

    "The research center collected extensive data on 79 recent European militants with criminal pasts. About 80% of those involved in recent terrorism plots had criminal convictions," the paper says.

  13. Identity of Berlin attacker 'vital' for Merkel

    Damian Grammaticas

    Europe correspondent

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a press conference on 20 December

    For Angela Merkel the legacy of the Berlin attack will be political. It’s not clear who the perpetrator was. But if it proves to be someone who came as a refugee, the German chancellor will face more pressure.

    She has stuck to her welcoming policy towards refugees fleeing war and persecution, and a majority of Germans have continued to back her. But Mrs Merkel’s political opponents, notably the far right Alternative fur Deutschland, have attacked her again following the Berlin attack, saying she has compromised Germany’s security by letting in people without knowing who they are.

    It’s a charge they will seek to press as Germany gears up for federal elections next year. The AfD had surged in regional elections this year. But Germany’s main parties have all said they will shun any question of sharing power with the AfD next year. And Angela Merkel has seen her support rise in recent polls.

    It’s why the issue of who carried out the Berlin attack is vital for Mrs Merkel and her vision of a free, open Germany.

  14. Cologne train station bomb threat 'false'

    Cologne's main train station was briefly evacuated after a telephone bomb threat, but it turned out to be a false alarm, a German police spokesman was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

    This user posted on Twitter a picture that, he said, showed the station being evacuated.

    View more on twitter
  15. German officials: 'Insufficient evidence' against suspect

    German prosecutors say the Pakistani man who was arrested after Monday's truck attack in Berlin has been released because of "insufficient evidence".

    The man detained, who had denied involvement, arrived in Germany at the end of last year. He was captured in a park after reportedly fleeing the scene. 

    "The accused, detained over the attack on the Berlin Christmas market on December 19, 2016, was let go on this evening on the orders of the federal prosecutor," his office said in a statement.

    "The forensic tests carried out so far did not provide evidence of the accused's presence during the crimes in the cab of the lorry."

    A tow truck operates at the scene where a truck ploughed through a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market
  16. BreakingPakistani suspect 'is released'

    The Pakistani suspect arrested after Monday's attack has been released, media reports say.

  17. 'Entire free world mourns' - Berlin mayor

    Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among hundreds of people taking part in a vigil at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church - next to the scene of the attack. 

    Addressing the gathering, Mr Mueller said: "Together we remember the victims of this horrific attack and we stand with the relatives and friends in this difficult hour and say: you are not alone.

    "We share your pain; the whole of Berlin, the entire free world mourns the victims of this cowardly and inhumane attack on our peaceful way of living." 

  18. The Economist: A turning point in Germany's politics?

    "If the attack in Berlin marks the start of a French-style jihadist campaign in Germany, it could herald a turning point in the country’s politics," the Economist says.

    "Conscious of its historical burden and bound by its political system to put moderate, consensus-oriented coalitions into power, Germany is unusually immune to populist sensationalism compared with many of its neighbours. 

    "But that may not last if the killing goes on."

  19. Commemorative ceremony starts

    Hundreds of people have gathered around a church at the square near the scene of Monday's attack to commemorate the victims.

    Deutsche Welle reporter Birgitta Schulke tweeted that church bells were ringing as the ceremony was about to start.