Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Berlin terror attack which killed 12 people and injured nearly 50.
The group’s Amaq news agency said in a statement that “the person who carried out the truck run over attack in Berlin is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition.”
Its claim came as German police released the man they had arrested because of lack of evidence, meaning the real culprit is still at large and armed and dangerous.
Authorities urged people to remain “particularly vigilant” and to report “suspicious movement” to a special hotline.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has visited the scene and paid her respects for the victims by laying a single white rose. Tonight, she joined the city’s residents for a church service just yards from the horror.
Earlier it emerged that police under increasing pressure to find those responsible had spent 24 hours questioning the wrong man.
“We have the wrong man,” an unnamed police source told Welt newspaper earlier. “This means the situation is different. The real culprit is still armed and can commit further atrocities.”
The man arrested on Monday night under suspicion of ploughing a 7-tonne truck through a Christmas market in the heart of Berlin, killing 12, was named in German media reports as a 23-year-old asylum seeker of Pakistani origin.
He denied involvement in the attack, according to police, and this evening he was freed.
The Welt daily reported that police raided a large shelter for asylum-seekers at Berlin’s defunct Tempelhof airport overnight. Four men are understood to have been questioned, but not arrested.
At least 48 were injured, some seriously, in the attack, after the vehicle mounted the pavement at about 40mph and crashed into them.
A passenger in the lorry – believed to be the original driver – was later found dead inside. German authorities confirmed that the passenger was a Polish national and that he was not the person in control of the vehicle, which belonged to a Polish delivery company, at the time of the crash.