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Poland Mourns Truck Driver Killed in Berlin Attack

  • Associated Press

Mourners gather for the funeral of truck driver Lukasz Urban, killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack, at a church in Banie, Poland, Dec. 30, 2016.

The bells of a brown stone church rang across a Polish village as hundreds of mourners gathered Friday to bid farewell to a truck driver killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack.

Lukasz Urban, 37, has been described as the first victim of the attack on Dec. 19 that killed a total of 12 people. He was waiting to deliver a shipment of steel in Berlin when his truck was hijacked by the Tunisian perpetrator of the attack. He was shot and his body was found in the cab of the truck.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda joined Urban's family, friends and neighbors, gathering with them in a church in the village church in Banie, near the border with Germany. Several other Polish political officials and a representative of the German Embassy to Poland were also there.

In a letter from Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, read aloud, she described her "great pain and sadness" and expressed her sympathy to Urban's family.

"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,'' Szydlo said.

A bishop, Henryk Wejman, delivered a homily in which he described Urban as a man who was open to others and conscientious in his work.

"His willingness to work and serve others won him the trust of other people and the openness to fellow man," Wejman said.

As the Mass was winding down, the president bowed his head at Urban's coffin. Then he approached Urban's wife and teenage son, whispering to them, shaking their hands and kissing the wife's hand.

The coffin was carried from the church and placed in a hearse, which drove it slowly through the village to a cemetery for burial, mourners walking with it.

Before the Mass, a group of truck drivers honked the horns of their trucks to honor Urban.

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