Taoiseach says violence across Europe an attack on fundamental values

German authorities began looking for clues this morning into what they called a “probable terrorist attack”

20th December, 2016
Rescue workers deal with the aftermath of the attack on a Berlin Christmas market Pic: Getty

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the latest acts of violence across Europe had no place in society and constituted an attack on our fundamental values.

"On behalf of the Irish government, I extend my condolences to the families of those killed in tonight's barbaric attack on the Christmas market in Berlin. Our thoughts are with those injured and their families," the Taoiseach said.

"I condemn the callous murder of Russia's Ambassador to Turkey and offer condolences to Ambassador Karlov's family. I condemn the cowardly attack on worshippers at prayer in Zurich this evening. These acts of violence have no place in society and constitute an attack on our fundamental values."

German authorities began looking for clues this morning into what they called a “probable terrorist attack” on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people and injured 48 others.

Police were questioning a suspect arrested near the scene whom they believe to be the driver of a truck that rammed into crowds at the market in the heart of west Berlin on Monday evening. Germany’s federal prosecutor, which steps in on terror cases or other major crimes, opened an investigation and asked the federal criminal police to handle the probe.

Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said he was "horrified" by the loss of life in Berlin.

"Ireland stands in solidarity with Germany," he said.

Those concerned about Irish citizens in Berlin should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 01 408 2000 while the department is also offering travel advice at @dfattravelwise.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will speak about the incident later on Tuesday, her press office said.

“We mourn for the dead and hope that the many injured can be helped,” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, said in a Twitter statement. He added that the chancellor was in contact with her interior minister after hearing of the incident.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to avenge the assassination of Russia’s ambassador in Ankara as he and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted the killing would not undermine the restoration of ties strained by the war in Syria.

The murder of Andrey Karlov, the first Moscow envoy to be killed in his post in almost 90 years, was an “open provocation aimed at derailing the normalisation of Russian-Turkish relations and the peace process in Syria,” Putin said in televised remarks late on Monday after he’d spoken by phone with Erdogan. The response will be a stronger assault on terrorism and “the bandits will feel it,” he told a meeting of his security council.

Investigators from both countries will jointly probe the attack, which won’t be allowed to disrupt a collaboration that’s crucial for the region, Erdogan said. Turkey and Russia said their foreign and defence ministers would meet in Moscow on Tuesday as planned for talks on Syria that also include Iran.

In a third attack yesterday, a gunman dressed in black stormed into the prayer hall of a mosque frequented by Somali immigrants and opened fire, wounding three people before fleeing.

Authorities weren't considering the attack as terrorism while police also said it was too early to determine whether there might be any link to an incident in Berlin

(Additional reporting by Bloomberg)

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