Europe

Berlin truck attack: Poland buries slain driver Lukasz Urban

People gather in front of the church after a funeral Mass for the Polish truck driver Lukasz Urban, who was killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack, in the church in Banie, Poland, 30 December Image copyright AP
Image caption Hundreds attended the funeral

Truckers sounded their horns across Poland as the first victim of the Berlin lorry attack, driver Lukasz Urban, was buried in his village.

Polish President Andrzej Duda and a German diplomat joined Mr Urban's family, friends and neighbours in Banie, near the border with Germany.

Mr Urban was shot by the attacker, who hijacked his lorry to kill 11 others and injure 48 at a Christmas market.

An autopsy report is not expected until early next month.

The assailant, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker who had pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State, was shot dead by police in Italy days after fleeing Germany.

A presidential spokesman said earlier that President Duda would attend the funeral to express his "huge respect for Lukasz Urban who, in the eyes of many Poles is definitely a hero, a courageous person", the Associated Press news agency reports.

A letter from Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo was read out in which she described her "great pain and sadness" and expressed her sympathy with the victim's family.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption President Duda (L) presented condolences to the wife (C), son (2nd R) and mother (R) of Mr Urban
Image copyright AP
Image caption A bishop attended the funeral Mass

"Poles have fallen victim to terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic fundamentalists but the tragedy that happened in Berlin is unique when it comes to the ruthlessness and cruelty of the perpetrator,'' she added.

Polish truckers stopped their vehicles to show solidarity with their dead colleague, with some 120 expected to converge on Banie later on Friday.

Image copyright Opozita.com
Image caption Mr Urban was in Berlin to make a delivery of steel beams

Family member Zofia Zurek remembered a "great guy" who had taken "excellent care of his family".

"We recognised his truck on TV, we knew it was him," she told AFP. "But until the body was identified, we had hope."

A bishop, Henryk Wejman, described Mr Urban as a man who had been open to others and conscientious in his work.

As Mass was ending, AP adds, President Duda bowed his head before the white coffin before approaching Mr Urban's wife and teenage son, then whispering to them, shaking their hands and kissing the wife's hand.