The asylum seeker from Pakistan was named as ‘Naved B’, a 23-year-old who is said to have entered the country under a false name on February 16.
The articulated lorry ploughed into men, women and children at the popular market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Monday evening. Twelve people were killed and 48 were injured.
The attacker is said to have used multiple names and was believed to be living in a refugee camp at Berlin’s old Tempelhof Airport, which was raided by armed police on Tuesday morning in connection with the truck attack.
The airport closed down several years ago but the buildings sprawl over a vast area and parts of it were turned over to house refugees in the capital.
He became “known” to police in Berlin for petty crimes including shoplifting.
Police were able to capture the attacker after witnesses saw him escape from the wrecked cab of the truck and a man followed him.
Officers were kept informed of his movements by the man tailing him from a “safe distance”.
The truck’s lights were turned off before it mounted the pavement and smashed into the wooden huts selling wine, sausages, sweets and toys.
The attacker – who fled from the Polish truck after it came to a halt and was later arrested at a nearby zoo – is said to have killed the driver beforehand.
He was found dead in the cab and was initially thought to have been an accomplice. It was later suspected that the driver, a Polish national, was the victim of a hijacking.
The truck was taken from a building site in Poland.
According to the firm owner, Ariel Zurawski, he was unable to contact the driver – his cousin – after 4pm.
The GPS data of the truck shows that between 3.00pm and 7.30pm the engine was turned on and off several times.