A migrant from Pakistan was identified Tuesday as a suspect in a truck attack on a crowded Christmas market in Germany’s capital, but police said it was still unclear if he was the main perpetrator.
The man was arrested not far from the scene of Monday night’s carnage, which left 12 people dead and wounded nearly 50 others.
He entered the country last year and had applied for asylum, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said, adding that other people may be involved.
The suspect in custody has denied responsibility.
Berlin police chief Klaus Kandt told reporters: “We are not sure if the suspect in custody is the right man … in fact, in my view it is still not certain whether he really was the driver.”=
Germany’s chief prosecutor Peter Frank echoed that, warning: “We must get used to the idea that he was possibly not the perpetrator or that he didn’t belong to the group of perpetrators.”
He added: “We do not know if there were more people involved in a support role.”
A temporary accommodation center for migrants was raided overnight by special operations police, but no further arrests were made.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has faced political pressure over open-arms policy for refugees, earlier said it would be “hard for us all to bear” if the perpetrator “was someone who sought protection and asylum.”
She added: “I have no simple answers. We cannot live without these shared moments in public spaces. We must not be limited by fear of evil. We will live as we wish in Germany — free, together and openly.”
More than 2.1 million immigrants were registered in Germany in 2015, according to provisional results from the Federal Statistics Office. That represented a 46 percent year-on-year increase and is almost as many people who live in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S.
Federal prosecutors took over investigation after the truck was driven into Breitscheidplatz, a popular public square where tourists and locals were enjoying a traditional pre-Christmas evening.
Police said the truck was “intentionally directed” into the crowd in an act of “probable terrorism.”
Merkel visited the scene, adding to a growing pile of flowers left in tribute to the victims.