Trump blames terrorists for killings
Without backing up his claim, US President-elect Donald Trump is blaming Islamic terrorism for deadly violence in Turkey and Germany and vowing anew to eradicate their regional and global networks.
Authorities in both countries were still investigating when Trump issued a pair of statements condemning the incidents on Monday. The White House had already described the episode in central Berlin, in which a truck rammed into shoppers at a Christmas market, as an apparent terrorist attack.
Trump called the brazen shooting of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey as he attended a photo exhibit “a violation of all rules of civilized order”. He added that a “radical Islamic terrorist” had assassinated the diplomat, Andrei Karlov.
In Berlin, where at least 12 people were killed, Trump said the Islamic State group “and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad”.
He added that these terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks “must be eradicated from the face of the earth” and pledged to carry out that mission with “all freedom-loving partners.”
Trump’s transition team did not respond to requests to cite the sources for his claims of terrorist involvement.
He later tweeted: “Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!”
In Zurich, police said three people were wounded when a gunman opened fire in the prayer hall of a mosque frequented by Somali immigrants.
Trump vowed during the presidential campaign to go after the Islamic State group, but repeatedly declined to fill in the public on his plan.
His statements came at the end of a day in which he was formally elected president by the Electoral College, clearing the way for his Jan 20 inauguration. Trump also announced his candidate for secretary of the Army on Monday and held a round of transition meetings.
He was expected to hold additional transition meetings at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate on Tuesday and Wednesday.
His choice of Army veteran and fellow New Yorker Vincent Viola to be Army secretary will put another billionaire in a leading role in the new administration. Viola is a West Point graduate who joins a list of individuals with military backgrounds already bound for the Cabinet. Trump’s picks for defense secretary, homeland security secretary, national security adviser and deputy national security adviser are retired military.