Berlin market attack probed
BERLIN — The Tunisian man who carried out last year’s deadly truck rampage at a Christmas market in Berlin could have been detained and possibly deported months before the attack, a special investigator said Thursday.
Anis Amri, a failed asylum-seeker, killed 12 people when he hijacked a truck and drove it into a crowded Christmas market in the German capital on Dec. 19, 2016, in an attack that was later claimed by Islamic State.
Bruno Jost, appointed by the state of Berlin to investigate how authorities handled the case, said security agencies had a good opportunity to question Amri in detail after he was detained in southwest Germany on July 30, 2016, as he tried to travel to Switzerland with forged Italian papers.
“Pretty much every mistake that could have been made was made,” Jost said in Berlin as he presented his final report.
The former federal terrorism prosecutor said Amri was questioned only by state police in Baden-Wuerttemberg who weren’t familiar with the 23-year-old and failed to delve into his ties to Islamic extremists or his drug dealing.
“During his twoday detention in Friedrichshafen, none of the security agencies who had been observing Amri for months sent officers to BadenWurttemberg to question him about phone calls he made to his mother that proved he was a Tunisian citizen — a fact Amri had long denied in order to avoid deportation.”
Jost also criticized the decision by Berlin authorities to stop eavesdropping on Amri’s cellphone in June 2016.
Amri fled to Italy after the market attack and died in a shootout with police on Dec. 23, 2016.
The trailer of a truck stands beside destroyed Christmas market huts in Berlin the day after the Dec. 19, 2016, attack.
AmrI Truck rampage