WASHINGTON – President-elect Donald Trump on Monday squarely blamed the “slaughter” of at least nine people at a busy Christmas market in central Berlin on “Islamist terrorists.”
German police have so far only described as a possible terror attack the incident in which a truck plowed through a crowd in scenes reminiscent of July’s deadly truck attack in the French city of Nice.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims of today’s horrifying terror attack in Berlin. Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday,” Trump said in a statement.
“ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”
The Republican, who takes office January 20 and is known for his heated rhetoric, also promised to wipe out “terrorists.”
“These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the Earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners,” he said.
Taking to his format of choice, Twitter, the president-elect later added: “Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!”
In Ankara, a policeman shot dead Russia’s ambassador to Turkey in a brazen attack during an art exhibition, while a man wounded three others as he burst into a Muslim prayer hall in the Swiss city of Zurich and started shooting.
Trump has espoused pro-Russia views despite a time of high tensions between former Cold War foes Washington and Moscow.