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[WASHINGTON] The United States labeled as an apparent "terrorist attack" a driver's move to plow his truck into a busy Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, killing at least nine people and hurting 50 more.
"Germany is one of our closest partners and strongest allies, and we stand together with Berlin in the fight against all those who target our way of life and threaten our societies," White House National Security spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
"We have been in touch with German officials, and we stand ready to provide assistance as they recover from and investigate this horrific incident."
In Berlin, ambulances and heavily armed officers rushed to the area after the driver mounted the pavement of the market in a square popular with tourists, in scenes reminiscent of July's deadly truck attack in the French city of Nice.
"The United States condemns in the strongest terms what appears to have been a terrorist attack on a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany, which has killed and wounded dozens," Price said.
"We send our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those killed, just as we wish a speedy recovery to all of those wounded. We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the people and government of Germany." German police also described the incident as a possible terror attack, cautioning it was unclear who was behind the assault at this time.
Police added they had no indications as yet to the nationality or age of the arrested man.
Traditional Christmas markets are popular in cities and towns throughout Germany and have frequently been mentioned by security services as vulnerable to attacks.
Europe has been on high alert for most of 2016, with terror attacks striking Nice and Brussels, while Germany has been hit by several assaults claimed by the Islamic State group and carried out by asylum-seekers.