At least three are dead and 30 injured after a truck rammed through a crowd in the North-Rhine Westphalia town of Münster, Germany on Saturday. The incident took place at Grosser Kiepenkerl, a popular restaurant near the center of the city’s old town. According to eyewitnesses and local authorities, the driver, a German citizen, ran full speed over a sidewalk where a crowd of diners was eating before shooting himself dead. Police are not considering other suspects at this time, and have closed off the site while emergency services work.
Senior security officials said it was too early to call the crash an act of terrorism, but were taking response measures as if it were. They remarked the tragedy is particularly unfortunate, as the regional police union has so far been able to foil and prevent other planned attacks in the area. Germany has been on high alert for two years due to a string of terrorist activity across Europe. The country’s last such incident was in December 2016, when a rejected Tunisian asylum seeker drove into a Berlin Christmas market.
Food, water, and energy insecurity, as well as economic and social inequality, form a “nexus” of issues that create an environment that breeds violent extremism, according to a senior US State Department official.
“Cities are drivers, byproducts, and stabilizers of security,” said Nancy Stetson, US special representative for global food security.
“But without the right resources, they can be threat multipliers,” she added.
Stetson spoke at the Atlantic Council in Washington on June 22 at an event hosted by the Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security. The event was the latest in a series on urban-focused security challenges. Eric Rosand, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Judith Hermanson, president and CEO of the Global Coalition for Inclusive Housing and Sustainable Cities; and Ian Klaus, senior adviser for global cities at the US State Department, also spoke at the event. Peter Engelke, senior fellow at the Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center moderated the discussion.