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Islamic State claims responsibility for Berlin truck attack, German officials still investigating

Click to play video: 'Still no answers as to who orchestrated the Berlin Christmas market attack' Still no answers as to who orchestrated the Berlin Christmas market attack
The suspect in Monday's deadly attack on a Berlin Christmas market is still at large. A truck slammed into a crowd of shoppers -- killing at least 12 and injuring 50 others. Police had arrested someone they thought was the perpetrator - but they released him because of a lack of evidence tying him to the crime. Jeff Semple reports from Berlin – Dec 20, 2016

The Islamic State extremist group is claiming responsibility for the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people and left nearly 50 injured.

The Islamic State group’s Amaq news agency said in a statement Tuesday 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.”

READ MORE: Berlin police release suspect in deadly Christmas market truck attack

German police are still hunting for the driver of the truck, which slammed into the downtown Christmas market Monday night.

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The interior minister of the country, Thomas de Maiziere, told reporters that investigators are following several leads.

“We just heard about the supposed claim of responsibility by this so-called Islamic State that is in fact a gang of terrorists,” de Maiziere told ARD broadcaster.

“There are several leads that investigators are following now.”

De Maiziere added that “nobody will rest until the perpetrator or the perpetrators are caught”.

READ MORE: Berlin attack: First victim was truck driver who was dedicated to his job

A man arrested shortly after the attack was released because there isn’t sufficient evidence to tie him to the rampage.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that that the man, a Pakistani citizen who came to Germany last year as an asylum-seeker, denied involvement in the attack that killed 12 people and injured nearly 50 others.

They noted that witnesses were able to follow the truck’s driver from the scene but lost track of him. The man arrested matched witness descriptions of the truck driver, but investigators haven’t been able to prove that he was in the truck’s cab at the time of the attack.

Under German law, prosecutors have until the end of the calendar day following an arrest to seek a formal arrest warrant keeping a suspect in custody.

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WATCH: Berlin police say man in custody over deadly Christmas market truck attack may not be driver

Click to play video: 'Berlin police say man in custody over deadly Christmas market truck attack may not be driver' Berlin police say man in custody over deadly Christmas market truck attack may not be driver
Berlin police say man in custody over deadly Christmas market truck attack may not be driver – Dec 20, 2016

Germany is not involved in anti-IS combat operations. But it does have Tornado jets and a refuelling plane stationed in Turkey in support of the coalition fighting militants in Syria, as well as a frigate protecting a French aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.

The U.N. Security Council is condemning “the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack” at a Christmas market in Berlin and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

READ MORE: Berlin Christmas market truck tragedy described by witnesses 

Council members say “that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.”

The council “expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the government of Germany.”

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*with files from Reuters 

Watch below: The day after a horrific truck attack at a Christmas market in Berlin, Gord Steinke spoke to Global News’ Trish Kozicka, who is in the German capital.

Click to play video: 'Interview with Global reporter in Berlin the day after truck attack' Interview with Global reporter in Berlin the day after truck attack
Interview with Global reporter in Berlin the day after truck attack – Dec 20, 2016

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