BERLIN: A truck rammed into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, killing nine people and wounding dozens more in what German officials said was suspected to be an attack.
While Germany has so far been spared the devastating jihadist carnage that has hit neighbouring France and Belgium, it has suffered a spate of attacks this year.
In some cases, the assaults have been claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group and been carried out by asylum seekers.
The Berlin market horror comes five months after Tunisian extremist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a 19-tonne truck into a crowd at a fireworks display in the French Riviera city of Nice, killing 86 people.
A timeline of attacks in Germany this year:
– February 27: policeman stabbed –
A 16-year-old German-Moroccan girl stabs a police officer in the neck with a kitchen knife, wounding him badly, an assault allegedly “ordered” by the IS but which was not claimed by the group.
The teenager attacks the policeman during a routine check at Hanover train station in northern Germany, before being overpowered by another officer.
– July 18: train attack –
A 17-year-old asylum seeker, wielding an axe and a knife, attacks passengers on a Bavarian train. The assailant, who is believed to be Afghan, injures five people, four of them tourists from Hong Kong.
He is shot dead by police. The IS group releases a video purportedly featuring the attacker announcing he would carry out an “operation” in Germany, and presenting himself as a “soldier of the caliphate”.
– July 22: Mall shooting –
David Ali Sonboly, 18, shoots dead nine people at a Munich shopping mall before turning the gun on himself, having spent a year planning the rampage.
Police say the German-Iranian was “obsessed” with mass murderers like Norwegian right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the IS group.
– July 24: Suicide blast –
A 27-year-old failed Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up near an open-air music festival in the southern city of Ansbach, wounding 15 others.
The Bavarian interior minister says the man had “pledged allegiance” to IS, while the jihadist-linked Amaq news agency says he is a “soldier” of the group.
The asylum seeker, who was due to be deported to Bulgaria, had received treatment at a psychiatric hospital and was reported to have suicidal tendencies.
– Foiled attacks –
Police say in October they foiled a plot by a Syrian refugee to bomb a Berlin airport, having initially wanted to target trains in Germany.
When commandos raid the apartment of Jaber Albakr, they find 1.5 kilos (over three pounds) of TATP, the homemade explosive used by jihadists in deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels. He commits suicide in prison.
In late November, a German working in intelligence is exposed as “a suspect Islamist”, Germany’s domestic security agency says, following reports he was planning an attack on its headquarters.
And on December 16, German prosecutors say they are investigating a case in which a 12-year-old boy allegedly tried to detonate a home-made nail bomb at a Christmas market in the western city of Ludwigshafen. -AFP